PJC In The News

Disabled Marylanders join class action over delayed benefits

By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun

January 21th, 2013:

Citing a severe and chronic backlog, advocacy groups have filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the state of failing low-income and disabled Marylanders by regularly taking nearly a year to approve medical assistance applications.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Baltimore Circuit Court on behalf of nearly 10,000 disabled adults, seeks to force the Department of Human Resources to approve the Medicaid applications within 60 days, as required by state law. The advocates allege that nearly 46 percent of applications in 2012 were illegally delayed.

"As a result of the defendant's failures, low-income and medically-needy individuals with disabilities cannot obtain needed medical care and treatment and face serious, often life-threatening health risks," according to the lawsuit by the Public Justice Center, the Homeless Persons Representation Project and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.

Marylou Magee-Kern, a 47-year-old Reisterstown woman who lost health insurance when her husband was laid off, is the lead plaintiff in the case. She has waited more than 230 days for the state to approve her application, according to the lawsuit.

As a result, Magee-Kern hasn't been able to get treatment by specialists — except when hospitalized — for kidney failure, diabetes and hypertension, among other ailments.

Read the full article: Disabled Marylanders join class action over delayed benefits

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