State News

Judge blocks NC personal care service rules

Posted December 8, 2011 2:30 p.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2011 3:58 p.m. EST

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

— A federal judge has blocked North Carolina's Medicaid office from implementing rules for personal care services that a lawsuit contends has led more than 2,400 people to lose paid assistance at home for things like cooking, bathing and dressing.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday that prevents a new policy based on a 2010 state law from being carried out while it's being challenged in a lawsuit. The people who sued argue the new restrictions treat people living at home differently from those receiving similar services in adult care homes, which would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Disability Rights North Carolina said the ruling filed Thursday hopefully will force the state to set better policies to help people continue living at home.

“We are thrilled with Judge Boyle’s decision. He confirmed our position that the state’s policy pushed people toward institutional settings,” Vicki Smith, executive director of Disability Rights North Carolina, said in a statement.

A spokesman for the state Medicaid office says it's reviewing the ruling.