Proskauer, in conjunction with lawyers for Children’s Rights, Disability Rights New York and the National Health Law Program, has filed a class action lawsuit against New York officials in response to the mental health crisis that has resulted in New York not providing enough. , frequency and duration, home and community mental health services that are medically necessary to enable children with mental health problems to stay safe at home in their communities.
The complaint is made on behalf of children entitled to Medicaid under the age of 21 with mental health disorders for whom intensive home and community mental and behavioral health services are medically necessary. In New York, more than two million children and adolescents are enrolled in Medicaid, with thousands of children requiring home and community mental health services.
As detailed in the complaint, the mental health needs of young people eligible for Medicaid in New York have long been at a crisis level, with more than 1 in 10 teenagers suffering from a major depressive episode, an influx of young people visiting the emergency department as a result of mental health crises, and suicide is the leading cause of death for young people aged 5-19.
There are tens of thousands of Medicaid children in New York who require intensive home and community services, but only a fraction actually receive the services they need. And for those few children who receive these medically necessary services, they often have to wait weeks or months to be overlooked by a mental health professional in violation of applicable laws.
Without these services, families often have to rely on hospital emergency services to provide short-term care that does not address the basic conditions of children. Too often, police officers are the only emergency response available for children in mental distress.
The complaint alleges that New York’s failure to provide such mental health services violates the Medicaid Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and that, as a result, children entitled to Medicaid are unnecessarily segregated or placed. seriously threatened by institutionalization, which severely disrupts their lives and damages their mental health, education, families and relationships.
The class representatives are children from New York who suffered from the consequences of insufficient access to intensive home and community mental health services and, as a result, got on a bicycle out of institutions, hospitals and residential facilities as an inadequate alternative to solving their persistent problems. mental health problems.
The complaint seeks continued judicial assistance, which requires New York to establish and implement policies and procedures to ensure the timely provision of intensive home and community mental health services for children for whom such services are medically necessary; make such services immediately available to Medicaid-entitled children; and that New York provide class members with such medically necessary services in the most integrated environment that meets their needs.
According to the complaint, the benefits of domestic and community mental health services have been confirmed by expert medical opinions and court decisions throughout the country. Such services lead to the best long-term outcomes for children, including a significant improvement in their quality of life, improved school attendance and performance, increased emotional and behavioral strength, more stable life situations, reduced suicide attempts and fewer contacts with law enforcement agencies. .
Proskauer’s team, led by Steven H. Holinstat, co-leader of the Fiduciary Litigation Group, includes Antoni P. Lefebvre, Shiva Pedram and Jacoba E. Wonn.