Medicare ruling approved; quick benefit soughtBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 27,2013Advocates hope Vermont Medicare patients won’t have to wait a year to reap the benefits of a class-action lawsuit that was settled last week.
Vermont Legal Aid and the Center for Medicare Advocacy settled a class-action lawsuit against the federal government over Medicare coverage of maintenance therapy. When U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss approved the settlement Thursday to cover such treatment, the government said it would set out to revise its relevant policies and prepare a three-month educational campaign for the Medicare system.
“Full implementation will take a year from today,” Michael Benvenuto, director of Vermont Legal Aid’s Medicare Advocacy Project, said Friday. “Because they have agreed this is what Medicare should always have been, we’re going to be pushing that changes should be taking place faster.”
Benvenuto said the case was over Medicare coverage of therapy to maintain a patient’s condition or to prevent deterioration, rather than just treatments aimed at improvements.
“Medicare never wanted to cover people just to maintain their present condition,” he said. “The impact on your grandmother would be if she needs a skilled nurse to come in every two weeks to maintain her position, that should be covered.”
Vermont’s position in the national class-action lawsuit was unusual, Benvenuto said, in that the Vermont Medicaid program often covers such treatment. Providers will be able to get reimbursed more by billing Medicare, he said, and the state will save money with those claims no longer going to Medicaid.
Benvenuto also said the decision would apply to preventive services, reducing overall costs from hospitalization and complications.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit was a Vermont woman, Glenda Jimmo of Lincoln. Blind and diabetic, Jimmo was denied Medicare coverage for home health care because her condition was deemed unlikely to improve.
@Tagline:gordon.dritschilo @rutlandherald.comMORE IN This Just InSPRINGFIELD — A man accused of killing a West Haven father and son died in the Springfield... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Scientists call for more research on the temporal and lasting effects of nuclear fallout on plants and animals in proximity to Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station where changes at the molecular level were found.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 410 CE, Visigoths sack Rome and it isn't the first time, either; in 1859, Titusville, Pa., the first commercially viable oil well comes in; in 1918, the only World War I battle fought on U.S. soil in Nogales, Ariz.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Archaelogists uncover artifacts proving that late neolithic Egyptians, pre-dating the Pyramids of Giza, practiced mummification to prepare their dead for the afterlife, far earlier than presupposed.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE:Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing that pollute ground water and the air we breathe come under scrutiny by researchers who find at least eight fracking chemicals toxic to mammals.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: The craze for Omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement in its most popular form, fish oil, has led to depletion of fish stocks in oceans throughout the world. Is this the beginning of the total collapse of global fisheries?
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Suspects arrested in Killington bear death, Bryanna Allen and Kevin O'Connor report along the Back to School front, Rutland Plywood site remains an active fire scene as debris continues to smolder.