Northern California

California Must Find Nurses for Disabled Children, Lawsuit Claims

California isn't doing enough to get in-home nursing care for children with severe disabilities, advocates claimed in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The state is obligated to find nurses for low-income children on Medi-Cal but does little more than send lists of names, the lawsuit said. It said children are at risk of being injured or institutionalized because the Department of Health Care Services fails to ensure they get the nursing care ordered by their doctors and approved by the agency.

Parents are left to "navigate a complex system with little to no support in obtaining necessary services for their children," according to the suit.

Lawyers are asking a judge to certify the case as a class action on behalf of approximately 4,000 children eligible for state-funded care through Medi-Cal. They're asking a federal judge to order the state to arrange care for the affected children.

The Medi-Cal agency doesn't comment on pending litigation, spokesman Anthony Cava said.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California on behalf of two children whose parents say they have struggled to find nurses to cover all of the approved hours. They're represented by attorneys from Disability Rights California, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and the National Health Law Program.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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