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Class Action Filed Against State of Michigan

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Class Action Filed Against State of Michigan
Failure to Provide Needed Mental Health Care to Children

Lansing, MI – Six families, having children with significant disabilities, filed a federal class action today against Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), alleging that the State of Michigan has failed to fulfill its legal obligation under the Medicaid Act to provide needed intensive home and community-based mental health services to children and young adults.

Jacob W., a 20-year old Medicaid beneficiary from Ingham County, has been waiting over 9 months for his approved services (applied behavioral analysis therapy and other psychiatric services). Jacob’s mother applied for services after he had been traumatized due to bullying at school. Jacob continues to isolate himself at home because of his anxiety and trauma. 

Jacob’s story is not unique. This suit was filed on behalf of thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries who have been harmed by the State’s denial of needed mental health treatment. Numerous Medicaid-eligible children have been approved by the State to receive intensive home and community-based mental health services, but, the suit alleges, the state lacks an effective system for arranging for needed services, depriving families and children of desperately needed mental health care. This creates an unacceptable risk of medical complications, hospitalization, and placement outside of the family home.

“The State of Michigan has a legal obligation to ensure individuals meeting specific treatment criteria receive timely access to the mental health services they need -- services mandated by federal law,” said Elmer Cerano, Executive Director for MPAS. “It is heartbreaking and inexcusable when children with significant mental health care needs cannot receive timely access to treatment in the community, but it is beyond appalling that children with the most severe mental health needs cannot obtain timely and effective intensive community based crisis services or even emergency psychiatric treatment.”

According to a Michigan Inpatient Psychiatric Admissions study, “From March 2016 to March 2017, Community Mental Health Service Programs (CMHSPs) in the Mid-State Health Network region reported 31,107 instances of community-based psychiatric inpatient denials, which impacted 1,676 individuals: as a result, each individual on average was denied access to inpatient services over 18 times within one year.” The Study further reveals: “Michigan has a shortage of children’s psychiatric inpatient capacity, which is causing children and adolescents to be boarded in emergency departments and not receiving appropriate care in a timely manner.”

Plaintiffs are represented by Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc.; Gerard Mantese, Dave Honigman, and Theresamarie Mantese of Mantese Honigman, PC; and the Law Offices of John J. Conway.

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Posted on:
June 06, 2018