Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana v. Talevski

Amicus

At a Glance:

On September 23, 2022, Compassion & Choices participated as a signatory to an amicus brief filed by a coalition of disability rights groups in a Supreme Court of the United States case called Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana v. Talevski.

The coalition’s brief explained that removing the ability to litigate claims under the Medicaid Act will result in significant barriers to accessing essential Medicaid services such as hospice and palliative care and that such services are essential in supporting the integration of people with disabilities into society.

On June 8, 2023, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of patients by preserving their ability to sue for civil rights violations under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act.

The Details:

The case alleges that a nursing home resident with dementia was unlawfully chemically restrained and discharged (i.e. evicted) from a nursing home without being afforded proper legal process. The trial court dismissed the action before the plaintiff was able to prove his case by holding that the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 did not contain an implied private right of action. The case was accepted by the Supreme Court of the United States in order to determine whether 1) the Nursing Home Reform Act provides a private right of action and 2) whether any federal law authorized under the United States Constitution’s Spending Clause can contain an implied private right of action.

Elimination of implied private rights of action under Spending Clause legislation will have a significant impact on terminally ill low-income people. In the past, terminally ill plaintiffs have relied on the Medicaid Act to successfully enforce their rights to receive important medical care, including end-of-life treatment options. The elimination of the ability to litigate claims under these laws will leave terminally ill Medicaid recipients without the ability to go to federal court to challenge the provision of their end-of-life care and will result in furthering existing inequities at the end of life.

On June 8, 2023, the United States Supreme Court held that the provisions of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act unambiguously created enforceable rights. This decision upholds the implied private rights of action under Spending Clause legislation and ensures that individuals will continue to be able to vindicate their rights in court.

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