July 1, 2015
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289
Court victory allows Children access to Vital Behavioral Health Treatments
Lancaster County District Court sides with Appleseed in important decision
LINCOLN — Yesterday, Lancaster County District Court Judge John Colborn issued an order protecting the rights of Nebraska children with autism and developmental disabilities to get vitally important behavioral health treatments through the Medicaid program.
The case, K.D. & S.L. v. Winterer, was filed on behalf of two Nebraska children who each have serious behavioral and mental health conditions, but had been denied coverage for necessary treatments recommended by their doctors. The suit challenged a Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) policy that excludes Medicaid coverage of certain treatments for children with developmental disabilities. Yesterday’s decision granted the plaintiff children’s motions for class certification and summary judgment. As a result of the judge’s order, HHS can no longer enforce these policies which have been determined by the court to be unlawful. Part of the judge’s ruling was to certify the case as a class action, meaning the ruling applies to all children in a similar situation as the named plaintiffs.
“This ruling is an important victory for Nebraska families with children who have been wrongfully denied access to essential mental and behavioral health treatments that were recommended by their doctors,” said Sarah Helvey, Nebraska Appleseed Legal Director. “The Court’s ruling will allow more children to get the care they need to have the best possible future.
“Now that this order is in effect, we look forward to working with the Department to begin covering these vital treatments immediately for the hundreds of Nebraska children who need them.”
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