NEWS | State News
Power outages follow Gustav
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