Claims State Improperly Terminating Medicaid Benefits, Access to Health Care
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) have filed a class action complaint against the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), alleging that the state has been improperly terminating Medicaid coverage for thousands of North Carolinians since January 1, 2014.
In the complaint filed Dec. 4, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and NHeLP ask the court to grant declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of plaintiffs Marcia Quinteros Hawkins, Alicia Franklin and Vanessa Lachowski, Kyanna Shipp and thousands of other Medicaid recipients in the state, ordering Secretary Mandy Cohen, as head of DHHS, to reinstate Medicaid coverage that has been improperly terminated since 2014 until the agency’s policies, practices and procedures are compliant with federal law.
The complaint argues the state has violated federal law by terminating health coverage without considering patients’ status under all Medicaid eligibility categories; not adequately sending written notice of the termination in a timely manner; ignoring patients’ rights to a pre-termination hearing to appeal the decision; failing to accommodate patients’ disabilities; and failing to communicate in the appropriate language for Medicaid recipients with limited English proficiency. These actions are violations of the Medicaid Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and NHeLP allege that by wrongfully denying Medicaid benefits, the state has jeopardized access to health care for low-income children, parents, seniors and disabled adults in North Carolina. The complaint also alleges DHHS policies have failed to reasonably accommodate people with disabilities and created barriers for people with limited English proficiency.
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (formerly Legal Services of Southern Piedmont) provides expert legal advice and representation to those who cannot afford it, but desperately need it, something the organization has been doing since its inception in 1967. Each year, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy serves 3,500 families each year who are facing a crisis of safety, shelter, health or income. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy provides committed advocacy work on behalf of clients, resulting in policy changes at the local and national level to impact a greater number of people. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is a champion for those in need, ensuring their safety, security and stability. For more information, visit charlottelegaladvocacy.org.
Founded in 1969, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) protects and advances the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals and families. NHeLP advocates, educates and litigates at the federal and state levels. Our lawyers and policy analysts stand up for the rights of the millions of people who struggle to access affordable, quality health care. We are guided by the belief—a challenge—that each generation should live better than the last. Learn more at healthlaw.org.