Taylor, et al. v. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, et al., 14-1161
In a motion to dismiss filed an earlier ALJ action, the Department said CDASS regulations prohibit paying a driver for “transporting the client.” The Department made clear to Plaintiff Leslie Taylor that it would not pay her attendants for time spent driving her or accompanying her to these medical appointments under either the CDASS program or the NEMT program. During the course of the case, after the Department once authorized the County Department of Human Services to pay the attendants For their time separate and apart from the mileage reimbursements they had been giving to Leslie Taylor. The Department even tried to dismiss the underlying administrative action on two separate occasions saying that it had both reimbursed Ms. Taylor for her mileage and made separate payments to the attendants for the time they spent traveling with Ms. Taylor. The check had to be returned because it was made out to Leslie Taylor instead of the attendants, it did not correspond to the actual amount of time the attendants spent traveling with Ms. Taylor as Ms. Taylor had documented and provided to the County, and the Department provided no explanation as to how Ms. Taylor was supposed to make such payments to her attendants going forward. Rather than provide an explanation, the Department came up with a new policy that the mileage payments made to Plaintiff Leslie Taylor for use of her vehicle for transportation to appointments should also be used to pay the attendants’ wages for the hours they spent driving her to medical appointments and time spent accompanying her at those appointments. Plaintiffs Leslie Taylor, her attendants, and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition requested that the Department either make a reasonable modification to it’s NEMT policy or its CDASS policy or simply use those programs to pay Leslie Taylor’s attendants a reasonable wage for the time they must spend traveling with her. Other nondisabled Medicaid recipients and Medicaid recipients who can drive themselves get mileage reimbursements that allow them to pay for wear and tear on their vehicle, insurance, gasoline, etc., and they are not required to use the money to pay for the services of a driver. In parts of the state where a brokered service provides transportation to Medicaid recipients, the Department pays for all aspects of service, including the wages of the driver. Leslie Taylor, because of her disabilities, often requires that one of her attendants travels with her to assist her during those appointments. For many years, there was no transportation service that would get Leslie Taylor, who often requires the use of a wheelchair, to her medical appointments. The only option she had was to use her own vehicle and have her attendants go with her.
On February 25, 2013, the Court granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and on February 27, 2013, entered Final Judgment on the case.
On March 27. 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s ruling on the motion to dismiss.
On March 27, 2014, the District Court denied Plaintiffs’ Motion to Reconsider. Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal.
On October 13, 2014, Plaintiff-Appellants filed their opening brief.
On January 14, 2015, Defendants-Appellees filed their Response Brief.
On February 2, 2015, Plaintiffs-Appellants filed their Reply Brief.
On October 6, 2015, the Court ordered that Oral Argument is to be held on November 18, 2015 at 8 a.m. in Courtroom II of the Byron White Courthouse. Members are invited to come out to show their support of this cause! Contact the Legal Program at 303-660-8254 if you need more information.
Oral Argument was held on November 18, 2015. On January 26, 2016, the panel issued their Order denying Plaintiff-Appellants motion for reconsideration and affirming the judgment of the district court.