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Class Denied In Lawsuit Over Medically Complex Kids

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A federal judge Monday declined to declare a class action in a long-running lawsuit that alleges Florida has not done enough to provide community-based services for children with complex medical problems.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in the case sought what is known as class "certification" for all Medicaid beneficiaries under age 21 who are in nursing facilities or who have medically complex conditions and are at risk of being institutionalized in nursing facilities.

But U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch issued a four-page order that pointed to a magistrate's recommendation on the class-certification issue. He wrote that the "determination of whether a Medicaid recipient is sufficiently 'at risk' of institutionalization is inherently a fact-specific inquiry.

Indeed, a particular Medicaid recipient's risk of institutionalization will often turn on individualized circumstances, such as the recipient's particular medical condition and the recommendations of her physicians. Plaintiffs offer no objective measure by which to gauge the persons included within the class."

The case dates to 2012 and stems from allegations that the state unnecessarily placed disabled children in nursing homes --- an allegation that the state has vehemently rejected.