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 In(Editor’s note: This is the first in a five-part series looking into the investigation of... Full StoryMORETOWN — An invite into the Moretown home of Emily Johnson and Brian Mohr shows that they live... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: On Jan. 31, 2002, Berkshire Armored Car Co. in Rutland's Howe Center was robbed of $1.9 million. Brent Curtis reports some of the surprising details he found in 10 years of FBI investigation files in a 5-part Herald series.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1835, deranged house painter attempts to kill Pres. Andrew Jackson; in 1969, Beatles play last live public performance on roof of Apple Corps building, London; in 1935, poet Richard Brautigan born in Tacoma, Washington.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Maple syrup standards revised to match international standards; city must decide how best to use $300K in leftover sewer project money; Bryanna Allen reports on funding proposal for solar projects; local agency gets HUD money.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1393, quick thinking teen girl saves King Charles IV of France from burning alive at masquerade ball; in 1760, Vermont town of Pownal created by N.H. Gov. Benning Wentworth; Canuplin, Filipino movie star, born.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day, 1700, Cascadia Earthquake, Magnitude 9 plus, strikes West Coast with tsunami effects felt as far away as Japan; in 1885, troops loyal to Sudanese Mohammad Ahmad conquer Khartoum; in 1992, Boris Yeltsin untargets U.S.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 971 AD, Southern Han war elephant corps defeated by Song Dynasty troops bowmen; in 1870, Montana, Marias massacre, U.S. kills 173 Native Americans; in 1941, Charles Lindbergh recommends neutrality pact with Nazis.