Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DHS, DOH and Conflicts of Interest in Hawaii

On June 23, Larry Geller reported in Disappeared News about a class action suit filed against Hawaii's Department of Health.  The general point of the suit is that DOH has been decimating its adult mental health medical services without the state regulatory authority to do so.

The suit was filed by the Hawaii Disability Rights Center and Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, a Honolulu law firm just honored in February by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.

A state employee has provided me with the following information on the regulatory oversight required of the Department of Human Services.  The document is technical enough that I am presenting it in its entirety as I received it, without trying to rewrite it.

The point of the email is that it is inevitable that DHS will have to be drawn into the suit.  Once they are, it will be impossible to continue to disregard the fact that AHFI is the law firm representing UnitedHealth/Evercare in the company's fight to cut services to children with disabilities like Audrey, H.M. and my own ten year old daughter.

This is the second time AHFI were involved in a case against the Department of Health.  In January 2009 they were part of the legal team planning a class action suit against the Developmental Disability Division.  Around January 27, the company discovered they had a "glitch" because they represented UnitedHealth.  When the suit was filed on February 2 (the day after UnitedHealth took over the Medicaid services for the disability population) it did not include AFCI.


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About Me

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.