Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Families and doctors sue Florida
over care for poor kids

Thousands of poor children in Florida are being subjected to ”needless infliction of pain” because three of Gov. Jeb Bush’s top agencies violated federal law by ignoring their healthcare needs, claims a lawsuit filed this week by five families and associations for the state’s pediatric doctors and dentists.

The class-action lawsuit alleges that Florida fails to provide adequate medical care to
1.6 million children on Medicaid because it doesn’t inform their families of the basic healthcare services they’re entitled to.

The lawsuit also alleges that Florida sends them to HMOs too full to accept them, and refuses to pay doctors, specialists and dentists at a rate that covers their expenses.

The solution, the lawsuit contends: Increase payments to doctors and dentists so that more of them will agree to serve children eligible for Medicaid; and start helping families get to doctors’ appointments and navigate the healthcare bureaucracy.

“Let me make sure you understand: We aren't seeking damages,” said Louis B. St. Petery Jr., a Tallahassee pediatrician and executive vice president of the Florida Pediatric Society, which filed the lawsuit. “We just want Florida Medicaid to finally provide children with the same access to care as your child and my children have.”

Read the Miami Herald article here and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel story here.

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