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Litigation Spotlight

DRP Successfully Resolves Two Cases Involving the Department of Human Services’ Failure to Fund Wheelchair Lifts and Other Equipment

Disability Rights Pennsylvania (“DRP”) resolved two cases filed on behalf of children who use wheelchairs for mobility in federal court in Harrisburg against the Secretary of the Department of Human Services of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (“DHS”), alleging that DHS violated the federal Medical Assistance (MA) statute by failing to provide MA coverage for wheelchair lifts and other similar equipment for children with physical disabilities, despite medical necessity. J.A. v. Dallas was filed on behalf of a five-year-old Dauphin county boy with physical and intellectual disabilities who remained institutionalized because his MA HMO would not accept his request for a wheelchair lift outside his family’s home that he needed to enter and exit.

N.Z.S. v. Dallas was filed on behalf of a 16-year-old Philadelphia girl with muscular dystrophy to challenge the failure of her MA HMO to provide coverage for a wheelchair lift or exterior ramp, without which she remained confined to her home and could not even attend school. Under the settlement, DHS required her MA HMO to pay for the installation of not only an exterior ramp, but also a stair glide to provide her access to her second floor bathroom.