Walter Mencken 8 a.m., July 30
Nursing battle to court
Muscular dystrophy patient files lawsuit seeking continued funding for in-home care
Lawyers for Pablo Carranza, the 21 year-old younger brother of Raul Carranza, who the Reader profiled last March, announced this week that a suit has been filed on his behalf against Toby Douglas of the California Department of Health Care Services.
Pablo’s fate was similar to that of Raul: upon reaching age 21, the state’s Medi-Cal program cut his funding for in-home care related to his muscular dystrophy, despite a need for round-the-clock nursing. The state’s preference is for both Raul and Pablo to move into residential care facilities, though their family and lawyer claim that this not only risky for health reasons but severely limits their potential quality of life.
There’s also a question as to whether institutionalization, which the state would provide funds for, is cost efficient.
“The State has capped home nursing care for adults such as Pablo at $180,000 per year, which is at least $90,000 below the actual cost of equivalent care in a hospital or sub-acute facility,” says Debra Marley of Disability Rights of California, lead counsel for Pablo.
The suit argues that the ruling to provide less funding for in-home patients than for those in a residential facility violates a clause of the Americans with Disabilities Act stating that the disabled be served “in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.”
At this writing a judge has not yet been assigned to hear the case in federal district court.
“Like most people my age, I want to explore the world around me by going out, meeting new people, going to college, having a career, and I really just want to have a chance to have a normal life,” writes Pablo about his situation. “I want to live with my family because they help me pursue my goal to become a productive person.”