The Public Justice Center is a nonprofit public interest law office, founded in Maryland in 1985, that seeks to enforce and expand the rights of people who are denied justice because of their economic status or discrimination. The PJC uses individual, class action, and appellate litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, and public education to advance our mission of “pursuing systemic change to build a more just society.”
THE CASE: A grant was made to the PJC to support litigation to require that the State of Maryland comply with legal requirements for the timely processing of applications for Medicaid for adults who are blind or disabled (MA-ABD) and for those seeking long term care benefits (MA-LTC). Recipients of MA-ABD are very poor and, by definition, extremely ill or severely impaired and in need of medical care. There were approximately 17,494 pending applications for MA-ABD statewide in May 2011, well past the 60 and 90 day deadlines for processing applications. Under Maryland and federal law, applications for MA-LTC must be processed within 30 and 45 days. In spite of these requirements and intense pressure from advocates, nursing homes and consumer groups, applicants for MA-LTC typically wait six months to one year or longer to receive a long-term care eligibility determination. Thus families and applicants do not know whether they are going to be able to pay the nursing home bill accumulating each day, suffer from high levels of anxiety and stress due to the lingering uncertainty, and daily face the possibility of involuntary discharge for nonpayment. Nursing homes are providing care without knowing whether or when they will be paid for that care.
Contact: John Nethercut, Executive Director, Public Justice Center, firstname.lastname@example.org; 1 N. Charles St., Ste 200, Baltimore, MD 21201