The New York Legal Assistance Group has filed a federal class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York to challenge threatened and actual reductions in Medicaid-funded home care services. Named Plaintiffs and the class they seek to represent are people with disabling conditions who need home care services to remain safely in their homes and communities. Without the necessary hours of care they would be forced to live permanently in nursing homes or other institutions. The complaint is brought by enrollees in Senior Health Partners and Healthfirst Complete Care (managed long-term care plans in New York State owned and administered by Healthfirst) against Healthfirst, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). Healthfirst provides Medicaid-funded home care services to over 15,000 people in New York State. As privately-owned health insurance providers, they contract with New York State to provide Medicaid recipients with covered services in exchange for a fixed-fee payment from the State. The payment does not change based on the number of hours of care provided. “Healthfirst defendants have systematically attempted to reduce care that vulnerable people need because it is in the companies’ bottom-line interest to do so: the less care they provide to each individual, the more money they keep for themselves,” said Jane Greengold Stevens, NYLAG’s Director of Special Litigation. “The State agencies compound the problem: DOH has failed to ensure that Healthfirst complies with the law, even though it knows that Healthfirst defendants are engaging...