Disability Rights Advocates Sue Montana Over Medicaid Cuts

Lawsuit challenges cuts to community-based services for people with disabilities, mental health issues

By AMY BETH HANSON, Associated Press

HELENA — Montana disability rights advocates are suing the state health department seeking to overturn cuts in Medicaid reimbursement rates.

The organizations argue the Legislature authorized the department to cut rates for primary health care services, but did not authorize cuts in community-based services for people with physical or developmental disabilities or mental illness.

Tuesday’s lawsuit also argues the agency failed to follow state rule-making requirements in making reductions that led providers to cut staff, close offices and discontinue services.

The organizations also argue the Medicaid cuts violate the Americans with Disabilities Act because the cuts to community-based services put patients at increased risk of institutionalization.

Health department director Sheila Hogan says the agency looks forward to working with Medicaid providers and those they serve as the funding is restored due to the improving state revenues.

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