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Lawsuit: NH lack of home care increases risk during pandemic

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Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 2:02 PM EST
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s failure to provide home health care services to qualifying elderly and disabled people puts them at risk of ending up in nursing homes that have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a lawsuit filed against state health officials Monday.

The lawsuit was filed by New Hampshire Legal Assistance, Disability Rights Center-New Hampshire, AARP Foundation and the Nixon Peabody law office on behalf of four people enrolled in a Medicaid waiver program, called “Choices for Independence,” meant to help participants stay in their homes.

“When CFI participants are deprived of the community-based long-term care that the state concedes they need and are entitled to, they face grave health risks,” AARP Foundation Senior Attorney M. Geron Gadd said in a statement. “Failure to properly administer the CFI Waiver not only deprives participants of their right to live as they choose, but also greatly increases their chances of exposure to COVID-19 in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.”

Pamela Phelan, litigation director for the disability rights group, said the plaintiffs are “one crisis away” from unnecessary institutionalization, and without the services they’ve been promised, they “linger for hours or days alone in bed or confined in their own homes.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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