Power outages follow Gustav

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					     NEWS | State News
SOUTHEAST
                                         FLORIDA
Power outages follow Gustav
LOUISIANA—While government
entities reportedly performed
                                         Residents’ lawsuit disputes institutional bias
admirably during Hurricane
Gustav, there still was at least one     Thousands of nursing home residents on Medicaid              Residents are suing Gov. Charlie Crist’s office and
major emergency preparedness             are suing the state for illegally forcing them into insti-   other government entities.
snafu: losses of power.                  tutions.
  Power outages ranked as the               Nearly 8,500 have filed a class action lawsuit claim-
top problem caused by the                ing that they should have the option of receiving com-
September storm for nursing              munity-based long-term care. Plaintiffs refer to a 1999
homes and hospitals, healthcare          U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Olmstead case.
officials said.                          The court ruled in the case that the unjustified place-
  Nursing homes and hospitals            ment of individuals in institutions such as nursing
throughout the state were with-          homes amounts to discrimination.
out power for long periods. Some            Defendants named in the suit are the Florida
hospitals went days without elec-        Agency for Health Care Administration, the Florida
tricity. Some generators in health-      Department of Elder Affairs and Gov. Charlie Crist’s
care facilities proved unable to         (R) Office. The state has countered that the plaintiffs
power air-conditioning for days          have not been able to prove that community care is
on end.                                  medically appropriate for them.
  The Louisiana Nursing Home                Medicaid, a state and federal program, still tends to
Association asked Department of          favor funding institutional care over other kinds of care.




                                                                                                                                                                     Photo: Office of the Governor
Health and Hospitals Secretary           Increasingly, however, states are using waivers that
Levine for large generators for          make it easier for them to use Medicaid funding for
every nursing home. Gov. Bobby           non-institutional care. The suit is being watched closely
Jindal (R) said he wants a federal-      around the country, as it could lead to expanded flexi-
ly funded grant program to be            bility of the program.
created to help hospitals and
nursing homes receive genera-
tors capable of running air condi-     long-term challenges, said the           Affairs. The story was based on              Doc familiarity brings benefits
tioning and heating systems.           former presidential candidate at         the Kaiser Family Foundation’s               NORTH CAROLINA—A new study
  Overall, communication sys-          the “State of Our Health” confer-        2006/200
				
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