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Thread: DOJ sues Florida overdisabled kids in nursing homes

  1. #1
    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    DOJ sues Florida overdisabled kids in nursing homes

    OK, I am ready for the comments on this one...... http://www.boston.com/business/healt...9HN/story.html

    The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Florida on Monday, accusing the state of unnecessarily institutionalizing about 200 disabled children in nursing homes and cutting services that would allow them to receive care at home.

    Federal investigators visited six nursing homes around the state and identified about 200 children they said didn’t need to be there and could benefit from care at home or elsewhere in the community. The investigators found that once in the facilities, many children stay for years, some growing up in the nursing homes.

    The investigation found cold, hospital-like facilities where children share common areas with elderly patients and rarely leave or go outside. Investigators noted that the children are not exposed to social, educational or recreational activities critical to development.

    They also said educational opportunities are limited to as little as 45 minutes a day and that many of the children’s families live hundreds of miles away, according to the lawsuit.

    Parents say they have no other option because the state has slashed in-homes services, including nursing care for critically ill children on ventilators and feeding tubes.

    Investigators said Florida is violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and infringing on the children’s civil rights by segregating and isolating them. The average length of stay is three years, federal officials said. Many of the children are physically disabled but mentally cognizant.

    Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek said in a statement Monday that the state had recently improved an ‘‘already strong program’’ and that 31 children with disabilities have been discharged from nursing facilities this year.

    She also chastised President Barack Obama’s administration for the lawsuit. She said it ‘‘shows that Washington is not interested in helping families improve but instead is determined to file disruptive lawsuits with the goal of taking over control and operation of Florida’s Medicaid and disability programs.’’

    The federal government threatened a lawsuit in September if the state failed to make changes. Dudek initially denied the allegations, then repeatedly stated the problems had been fixed. She stressed that the state pays for all medically necessary services for children and that parents ultimately decide whether to place children in nursing homes.

    But parents have said they are desperately fighting to get services to keep their children at home. Until recently, the state instructed that in-home nursing services would be ‘‘reduced over time’’ as parents learned to perform medical interventions on their children.

    Attorney Matthew Dietz, who filed a similar lawsuit against Florida on behalf of more than two dozen children, said the state has done little to actually move children out of the nursing homes, despite Dudek’s claims. That lawsuit says more than 3,300 children with disabilities are at risk of being pushed into nursing homes due to a lack of services.

    ‘‘(The state) pressures parents to place children in institutionalized settings and then gives them no way to get out,’’ Dietz said in a phone interview Monday.

    Twelve-year-old Amy Root has been on the waiting list for at-home services since 2010. She was hit by a car, which left her a quadriplegic and unable to talk or communicate. She requires a feeding tube and suffers from seizures. At first she had 24-hour in-home nursing care, but the state slashed those hours in half over time, said her mother, Sue Root.

    Root, who is part of Dietz’s lawsuit, said she stays up at night monitoring Amy and takes care of her other two children during the day when a nurse is there.

    ‘‘What if she’s having a seizure? ...I don’t think any parent should have to have that kind of responsibility,’’ Root said.

    In January, Dudek said she had visited the six nursing homes involved in the federal investigation and couldn’t find any of the alleged problems. Still, she announced she was assigning nurse coordinators to each child to help parents who want to bring their children home find services such as private duty nursing, transportation and medical equipment.

    Federal officials said they have ‘‘met multiple times with state officials in a good faith effort to achieve resolution of the violations’’ but ultimately decided ‘‘compliance with the ADA cannot be secured by voluntary means,’’ according to the lawsuit.


  2. #2
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    the life in a facility is too far from the life at home with a family. I think those children must be sent home..

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    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    Amy, I've worked HH, both with adults and kids, and I will attest to the fact that it is expensive as all heck to have the kid at home, especially with services being slashed to balance State budgets.

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    ok but i think parents should learn how to take care of their kids too. most physicians educate the families of patients before they are sent home

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    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    Yes, parents are always taught about their kids' care. In fact, I have met some awesome parents out there.

    Unfortunately, 'medically fragile' kids do need much care, and wear out the family, finances......

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    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    I hate to say this but once again health care reform is rearing it's ugly head and this time it is attacking those most fragile patients who have no voice. Disabled children and adults. Medicaid has cut 20% from reimbursements for their care in the past year and is looking to cut up to 20% more. This leaves families no choice but to care for very medically fragile people at home without access to professional medical back-up. Most of these consumer's will eventually be "Hospiced" out of the healthcare system. Look around and you will see it's already happening. This is the field I work in - it's not a pretty picture.

    Hppy

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    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    Amy - you seem to be forgetting that the cost of taking care of these kids and also DDMF adults is extremely expensive and that often a parent caregiver cannot work. I would like you to consider walking in the shoes of a parent with a medically fragile developmentally disabled child with seizures etc.... needs to be able to do. It's not just about teaching it's about giving compassion. I can't tell you how many kids we've rescued from well meaning family members who had bed sores, no educational opportunities, social isolation etc..... Florida's system needs to be fixed but shoving fragile children back home to parents who are not equipped to care for them is just as criminal as what is going on now.

    Hppy

  8. #8
    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    I might add that a large facility for medically fragile kids here in California recently closed due to cuts allowed under Obamacare. It was positively heartbreaking to see these kids in wheelchairs and gurney's being wheeled out and shunted to nursing homes and taken to their parents homes which were not equipped for their care.

    Hppy

  9. #9
    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    And what happens to these 'kids' when they get older, their folks get ill/pass away?!

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