Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Jan. 30
Bittersweet ending to health care battle
Patient wins own case for access to nurses, but no precedent for others set
After a lengthy battle with California’s Department of Health Care Services dating back to 2010, Chula Vista resident and muscular dystrophy patient Raul Carranza announced today (October 8) that he has reached an agreement with the state that will restore his access to nursing care that was revoked shortly after his 21st birthday.
Raul’s younger brother Pablo Carranza, who also requires round-the-clock nursing care, fought a similar battle of his own earlier this year. Pablo eventually won a settlement that granted him access to treatment, but a stipulation was placed barring the case from being used as a precedent for others in a similar predicament.
The state in Raul’s case used a different, even less conventional method to carve out an exception for Raul while leaving unchanged regulations that favor institutionalization of the disabled by providing more money for individuals who choose to live in a hospital setting than for those who prefer to remain in their homes.
Instead of allowing the case to go to trial or offering a settlement, Health Care Services simply revisited Raul’s case, retroactively granting him the benefits he had been seeking. Under such an arrangement there was no issue upon which to litigate, so the case was dropped, which could have left the Carranza family on the hook for any legal fees incurred up to that point (Raul has been receiving pro bono assistance from Disability Rights of California).
The victory is, in a sense, anticlimactic.
“I think I just wanted more,” Raul writes on his blog. “While this is a great result for me, it does nothing for anyone else. Countless others will have to go through the same thing and they might not be as lucky as I was.”
Since being forced to leave school at UCLA, Raul has become immersed in case law surrounding the push to keep the severely disabled in institutional settings, and while writing on the subject himself has become a patients’ advocate himself.
While the details are still murky, Raul says he intends to use his and his brother’s victories in a push to provide more equitable access to health care dollars for patients living with their families instead of nursing facilities.
More like this:
- Accused nurse expected to testify in his own defense — May 7, 2013
- Nursing battle to court — Dec. 7, 2012
- Video: "Why I Need Nursing Care" — March 19, 2012
- The Dire Limits of Health Care — March 7, 2012
- Group to Protest State Health Spending Cuts — Jan. 26, 2012