In Manchester Superior Court on April 4, Judge Abramson considered Cross Motions for Summary Judgment in the “Wallace Case.” The Wallace Case, also known as the Declaratory Judgment, challenges the state’s inclusion of long term care services provided by the Area Agency system into the state’s Medicaid-funded managed care program. After hearing from both sides, she assured the group that she would rule as quickly as possible.

 

Plaintiff attorney Tom Quarles reviewed in detail the arguments introduced in a February 14, 2014 brief filed with the Court on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders, their families, and area agencies. Attorney Laura Lombardi, with the State’s Attorney General, summarized the state’s counter position. Much of the discussion centered on the State’s position that sovereign immunity, as a general rule, prohibits the State from being sued in its own courts without its consent and permission.

Quarles noted that “These people have been denied an opportunity to engage first through legislation and now possibly, through judicial process if sovereign immunity is declared by this court. We are worlds apart from the State. In sum, the only thing we agree about is that this case is suitable for Summary Judgment.”

State’s Attorney Laura Lombardi maintained that sovereign immunity is valid in this circumstance and particularly noted that there has been no argument that the care received through a managed care program would be inadequate. “There is recourse available by seeking clarifying legislation. Due process could be achieved through the administrative appeals process available through the state.”

Quarles countered that “These are out of state, for profit health insurers that, contrary to RSA 171, a state law saying that non-profit Area Agencies must deliver long term services, are not direct providers and have no experience delivering these services. The managed care companies have zero, zero expertise in this area of long term care. The State has been seduced by promises of large cost savings. So, contrary to the State’s claim, we are contesting that adequacy of care these managed care companies can provide.”

Judge Abramson closed the proceedings with an assurance that she will rule as quickly as possible.

From Gateways Community Services Legislative Update 4/8/2014