State officials have given notice on the Department of Social Services Web site that the state will once again pay for durable medical equipment, at least through March. A lawyer representing Medicaid recipients worries that it’s a notice some Medicaid recipients might miss.

The notice responds to a federal judge’s ruling that the legislature violated the federal Medicaid law in cutting funding for some durable medical equipment. The judge ruled the legislature failed to use a reasonable standard in deciding which equipment Medicaid would cover and which it would not. The judge ordered the state to immediately restore funding and to submit a new Medicaid coverage plan by April 2nd.

Attorney Tom Kennedy sued the state on behalf of Medicaid recipients who lost funding for their equipment. He has been frustrated by the state’s lack of response to his repeated inquiries. Kennedy says that other than the telephone call he got Friday informing him of the state’s action, he hasn’t received any communication from the State Department of Social Services. He says the judge has asked the two sides to work out a compromise to satisfy his ruling. Kennedy says he has called the department often and has send e-mails, but department officials have not replied.

Kennedy sees the notice posted on the Social Security Department Web site as the minimum response the state could take to the court ruling. Kennedy says he’s confident the state will meet the April 2nd deadline and restore coverage of all durable medical equipment. He does worry, though, that the state might restore coverage without widely publicizing the reversal. Kennedy says the current Web notice targets mainly providers and does little to let Medicaid recipients cut off two years ago know that coverage has been restored.                                                      

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)