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Hearing slated in Chadwell lawsuit against FSSA

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Edna Chadwell
A hearing has been scheduled regarding a local woman's lawsuit against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU) attorney Gavin Rose recently told The Brazil Times that Clay County Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers scheduled a hearing on the ACLU's Motion for Summary Judgment for Dec. 18.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m., and will take place at the Clay County Courthouse.

"A motion for summary judgment is a request that the court issue a final judgment, a permanent injunction, in this case," Rose said, "as opposed to the preliminary injunction that we have already been awarded."

The case stems from the lawsuit filed on behalf of Clay County resident Edna Chadwell. The suit specifically stargeted the FSSA Aged and Disabled Waiver Program.

Rose said the hearing will consist of possibly 45 minutes to one hour of legal argument from attorneys. No live testimony will be involved.

He said at the end, Rose said he expects issues will be taken "under advisement" by the court.

"In all likelihood, the hearing will be the last step before (Akers) reaches a final decision in the case," Rose said.

The Aged and Disabled Waiver Program, permits Medicaid recipients who "otherwise required institutionalization for their conditions -- whether that be in a nursing home, a hospital or another facility -- to receive services in their homes or a community-based setting," Rose said.

Rose has said the waiver program had to be renewed by the FSSA every five years and the renewal then goes through an approval process by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

However, Rose has stated that when the program was renewed this year, the FSSA included a limitation on the number of "attendant care" hours that enrollees may receive.

In addition to Chadwell, seven others are named in the suit as "unnamed members."

Via e-mail, Rose said a continuance is "possible."

"But given the amount of time between now and December, I am hoping that it will not be necessary," he added.

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