A judge has cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit says that Florida’s Medicaid program violated federal law by withholding coverage for incontinence supplies for persons with disabilities.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard issued a 37-page judgment allowing a request by attorneys for two women and the organization Disability Rights Florida to treat the matter as a class action. While it is unclear how many people may be affected by the ruling, the court noted one estimate that at least 480 Medicaid patients turn 21 each year and lose coverage for incontinence supplies they received as children.
The lawsuit filed in July in federal court in Jacksonville on behalf of Duval County resident Blanca Meza and St. Johns County resident Destiny Belanger contends that the state is violating federal Medicaid laws and other laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit says the state stopped providing the incontinence supplies after the women turned 21. They are dependent on others to assist them with all of their activities of daily living. According to the lawsuit, Meza has spastic Cerebral Palsy.
According to the Agency for Health Care Administration, Florida Medicaid reimburses durable medical equipment (DME) and medical supplies appropriate for use in the recipient’s home.
Disabled children grow up into disabled adults. We don’t magically outgrow our disabilities on our 18th birthday. Disabled adults still need support. More must be done to ensure that all disabled people receive the services and support they need regardless of age.
“Florida Medicaid’s Covered Services and HCBS Waivers.” Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, https://ahca.myflorida.com/medicaid/medicaid-policy-quality-and-operations/medicaid-policy-and-quality/medicaid-policy/medical-and-behavioral-health-coverage-policy/specialized-health-services/florida-medicaid-s-covered-services-and-hcbs-waivers4.
Saunders, Jim. “State Can Face Medicaid Class-Action Suit over Supplies for Adults with Disabilities.” WLRN, NPR, 11 Apr. 2023, https://www.wlrn.org/health/2023-04-11/state-can-face-medicaid-class-action-suit-over-supplies-for-adults-with-disabilities.