Plaintiffs force state to pay for DME

Sunday, January 4, 2004

January 5 , 2004

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - As part of a settlement agreement with three Medicaid patients who filed a class action lawsuit against the state, the state Department of Social Services will pay for a stair glide, a specialized bed and a remote control, according to a Dec. 23 Newsday report.

The plaintiffs had criticized the state for using a Medicare manual to deny them the use of urgently needed medical equipment, arguing that Medicare and Medicaid could not be compared since Medicare has more limited benefits.

The lawsuits alleged that hundreds of Medicaid recipients were being denied necessary equipment. But a DSS spokesman said the agreement with these three plaintiffs did not necessarily mean that other beneficiaries would be eligible for the same equipment.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Kevin Brophy, believes the lawsuit will pave the way for greater access to DME.

"The big thing is (the agreement) is going to expand the access of durable medical equipment for the elderly or disabled," Brophy told Newsday. "It helps them attain self-care and independence."