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FSSA appeals decision in Chadwell case

Friday, April 16, 2010

Edna Chadwell
Despite a recent court ruling, a local resident isn't out of the woods yet.

In 2008, Clay County resident Edna Chadwell, along with seven others, waged a legal battle against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

The suit specifically targeted the FSSA's Aged and Disabled Waiver Program.

In early March, a decision by Clay County Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers ruled that caps on services through the program were "permanently enjoined."

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," according to American Civil Liberties Union Of Indiana Attorney Gavin Rose, who represents Chadwell.

According to Rose, 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 said when the renewal process came up in 2008, the FSSA included a limitation on the number of "attendant care" hours that enrollees may receive.

Following Akers' court ruling, Rose told The Brazil Times the state of Indiana had 30 days to file an appeal or file a Motion to Correct Errors. If neither was filed, the court decision would be declared final.

But earlier this week, the state filed an appeal to the ruling.

Rose said the appeal will be taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which "hears appeals from trial courts across the state, but sits in Indianapolis."

"There are 15 judges on the Court of Appeals, but each case is only heard by a panel of three judges," Rose said.

Rose added the appeal process can take a while.

"I hate to guess at how long any appeal will take because it varies so much between cases," he said. "I think somewhere between six and eight months is usually a good guess for the time between the filing of an appeal and a decision by the Court of Appeals, but it is just a guess."

In late 2008, Rose said the FSSA received a preliminary injunction, which stated it had to continue providing the maximum amount of care hours for those in the program. Since the injunction, FSSA has complied with the order.

He said trial court orders remain in "full force-and-effect," pending appeals. But the party appealing could seek what Rose called a "stay" from the trial court, which is an order stating the trial court's decision will not be in effect during the pendency of the appeal.

Rose said the state asked for a "stay" in this case, which has been denied.

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FSSA should be ashamed of theirselves.... Let's give money- Food Stamps and other things to those able to take care of themselves but choose not to. Kudos to this women for trying to fight for her independence!!!!!

-- Posted by Innocent on Sat, Apr 17, 2010, at 10:35 AM

Earlier article indicated that the FSSA wants to "limit" the weekly hours to 40. Fourty hours per week would be the LIMIT. If you require more than that, then they say you must go to an institution. I'm all for staying at home as well, but is this not our tax dollars paying for a full-time person to care for one person? If you can pay for it yourself, then good for you. If not...

-- Posted by brazilian on Sat, Apr 17, 2010, at 7:57 PM

I think 40 hours per week committed to the care of one person in their own home at no expense to them is showing a lot of obligation and care for our fellow citizens.

-- Posted by brazilian on Sun, Apr 18, 2010, at 10:33 PM

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