Massachusetts Officials, Advocates for Mentally Retarded Reach Agreement on Providing Medicaid Benefits
Under pressure from U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, Massachusetts Secretary of Human Services William O'Leary has reached a "tentative agreement" with advocates for the mentally retarded that would give $85 million to the state's mental health programs, the Boston Globe reports. In a class-action suit filed last year, Woodlock ruled that the state must provide services to the 2,500 mentally retarded individuals eligible for Medicaid benefits. Some of those individuals had been waiting "as long as two decades" for care when the suit was filed. State officials had argued that they needed "clear direction on whether services should be offered 'cafeteria style,' and to whom," the Globe reports. Woodlock called that expression "inept and inapt," and ordered state officials and advocates for the mentally disabled to reach a deal by Nov. 3. Last night, administration officials for Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) "sounded confident that the deal would satisfy everyone in the case." The money will be used over the next five years to provide programs and services, particularly for individuals on the waiting list for adult day care. State Attorney General Thomas Reilly (D) and Woodlock now must sign off on the agreement (Cassidy, Boston Globe, 11/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.