WA Supreme Court orders DSHS to reverse cuts to medicaid kids

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @cjingalls

KING5.com

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Updated Friday, May 27 at 5:50 PM

SEATTLE -- The Washington State Supreme Court has ordered a reversal of some of the deep budget cuts made by the Department of Social and Health Services. The cuts targeted a program that helped vulnerable children. Benefits to as many as 3,000 kids could be affected.

One of them is Samantha Kadlec of Kenmore. Medicaid paid for an in-home personal care expert to help Samantha with things like bathing, grooming and reading. Her mother was devastated when DSHS cut Samantha's services in half.

"It was a pretty rough time,” Andrea Kadlec said. “You needed more support and they were proposing you get a lot less. I felt pretty sick."

This week, the court ruled that DSHS made broad assumptions based on children's age and living conditions instead of examining the need in each individual case.

The court also affirmed lower a court finding that DSHS made similar unfair cuts to about 1,000 seniors who also received in-home care.

Samantha's mother realizes the state is in dire financial trouble. She says without in-home assistance, taxpayers could face an even bigger bill for full time care.

“So the crux of this case is so that kids like Sam can live in the community and don't have to be institutionalized," Andrea said.

How will DSHS restore the funding when its budget has been cut so deeply? DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus said she won’t know the next step until her agency has had a chance to review the court ruling.

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