I.N. v. Kent
More than 4,000 children across California have been approved by the state for Medi-Cal in-home nursing care. Yet, many of these hours go unfilled, placing an enormous strain on families, and resulting in an unacceptable risk of medical complications, hospitalizations, and placements outside the family home.
In a class action lawsuit filed on May 24, 2018 against California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), two children – I.N. and J.B. – challenged the state’s failure to arrange for in-home nursing care the state itself has determined they need. Their claims were based on 1) federal Medicaid law requiring states to ensure that child beneficiaries actually receive all approved medically necessary services, including in-home nursing; and 2) the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires states to provide services to individuals with disabilities in integrated settings.
The parties reached a settlement in the case in February 2019. On April 7 the Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement and directed DHCS to notify affected families, giving them a chance to weigh in before the Court considers whether the settlement should get final approval. The notice that families will receive is here.
Under the settlement, DHCS will designate managed health care plans, California Children’s Services (CCS), and/or HCBA Waiver Agencies as case management service providers for class members and will require those providers to help class members obtain in-home nursing. DHCS will oversee this case management, and will also establish an email address that families can contact if they have questions or concerns about their in-home nursing or case management. The settlement agreement is here.
Case Name: I. N., a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem, Zarinah F.; J. B., a minor, by and through his guardian ad litem, Alisa B., and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Jennifer Kent, Director of the Department of Health Care Services; California Department of Health Care Services.
Court and case number: Northern District of California, Case Number 3:18-cv-03099.
Co-Counsel: Western Center on Law and Poverty, National Health Law Program, and pro bono counsel Allen L. Lanstra, Richard Schwartz, and Rachael Shiffman.
Significant Court Documents:
- I.N. v. Kent First Amended Complaint
- Class Action Notice
- Settlement Agreement
- Court Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement
- Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees
- Federal judge preliminarily approves class action settlement for California’s failure to arrange Medi-Cal in-home nursing care for children - 04/08/19
- Children with disabilities file federal class action lawsuit challenging California’s failure to arrange for Medi-Cal in-home nursing care - 05/24/2018
- Court Settlement to Help Low-Income Children With Complex Medical Needs California Health Report, 4/24/2019
- Not Enough Nurses? Parents Sue California Over Sick Kids' Lack Of Access To At-Home Care Capital Public Radio, 5/29/2018
- Children struggling to get in-home care they need ABC 10 News, 5/28/2018
- California Must Find Nurses for Disabled Children, Lawsuit Claims NBC 4, 5/25/2018
- Lawsuit: California must find nurses for disabled children The Sacramento Bee, 5/24/2018
- Class Action Lawsuit Claims California is Failing to Provide At-Home Nursing Care for Sick Kids NBC Bay Area, 5/24/2018
- At-Home Nursing Care Lacking for Bay Area's Sickest Kids NBC Bay Area, 5/6/2018
- Family says they can't find home nursing help ABC 10 News, 10/10/2017
- In-Home Nursing Care Still Lacking for Sick Kids NBC Bay Area, 8/14/2017
- Team 10 Investigates: Families struggling to find at-home nursing help ABC 10 News, 2/13/2017