Pediatricians Accuse Florida of Making Children Sick for Financial Reasons
On August 20th, CNN Wire covered a personal injury story like no other; the story of pediatricians claiming that the state of Florida harmed sick children in order to benefit political donors. Reportedly, the children were switched out of Children’s Medical Services (CMS), a section of Florida Medicaid, and into other Medicaid insurance plans which did not cover the particular health problems they faced.
While some chose to file lawsuits against the state of Florida and, as a result, were placed back on Children’s Medical Services, receiving the care they needed, many Florida pediatricians are concerned about the many children with special healthcare needs who, years later, are still off the program. Specifically, the pediatricians have reported that their patients have suffered terribly after being taken off of the plan.
Some of the specific concerns these pediatricians have raised include facts such as the following:
- The data analysis used to justify the switch was described as “inaccurate” and “bizarre”;
- The screening tool used to select which children would be taken off the program was described as “completely invalid” and “a perversion of science”;
- In 2015, an administrative law judge ruled that using that specific screening tool was unlawful. Still, the department did not re-enroll the children with the program, or even notify those families that re-enrolling was a possibility; and
- Parents and pediatricians have raised concerns that the children were really taken off the program in order to placate insurance companies that had donated millions of dollars to the Republican Party in Florida.
Many are troubled, as changing health insurance for some of the sickest and most vulnerable children can mean life or death for them. About one in five children (or 13,074) covered under CMS was taken off the program and placed under another program.
And why were they kicked off? According to the children’s parents, they were asked one question—whether their children were limited in their abilities to do things other children did. If they answered yes, they were taken off the program.
This, according to experts, was nothing short of abusive. This is because many children with serious medical conditions—such as cystic fibrosis and HIV—are often able to things that other children do. However, this does not mean that they do not still need specialized medical care.
While many state and federal agencies rely upon the Children with Special Health Care Needs Screener questions—as developed by Johns Hopkins—to help decide which children might need special health services, the Florida Department of Health used them to kick children out of the program. According to the experts who formulated these screening questions, this was nothing short of scientifically invalid.
If You’ve Been Affected, Speak with an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been wrongfully harmed by the state of Florida in being taken off of the CMS program, you should speak with an experienced personal injury and commercial litigation attorney right away. Contact the attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out how we can help.