State to pay $27 million after citizens claim they were forced into nursing homes

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Roughly 8,500 Medicaid recipients who filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida claiming they were improperly forced into nursing homes have reached a $27 million settlement with the state.

The plaintiffs filed suit in 2008, claiming that the state made it inordinately difficult to receive Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services. This, they alleged, was tantamount to forcing the Medicaid recipients to live in nursing homes against their will. A federal court agreed, citing a Supreme Court case—the Olmstead decision—that found such enforced institutionalization of disabled individuals violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Florida Health Care Administration and the Department of Elder Affairs over the next few months will spend the $27 million improving institutional-to-community-based-care education for nursing home residents. These improvements will be made during the current fiscal year, the AP reports.