Supreme Court Denies Cert in Case Allowing Medicaid Beneficiary to File 1983 Claim for Reasonable Promptness

The U.S. Supreme Court lets stand a decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, finding that the reasonable promptness provision found in 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(8), gives rise to a right enforceable under § 1983. Doe v. Kidd (U.S. Ct. App., 4th Cir., No. 05-1570, Sept. 19, 2007, cert. denied, 552 U.S. 07-913, Mar. 3, 2008).

Sue Doe has developmental disabilities. She applied for a Medicaid waiver program that provides services in a non-institutionalized setting. South Carolina placed Ms. Doe on a waiting list and she appealed, arguing the state did not serve her with reasonable promptness. The state eventually moved Ms. Doe to the top of the waiting list and developed a plan of care for her.

Ms. Doe filed a § 1983 claim against the state, arguing, among other things, that it had failed to provide with reasonable promptness the residential habilitation and other Medicaid services she requested. The trial court found her claims moot because the state had temporarily placed her in a residential facility, and Ms. Doe appealed.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed, holding that because her placement was temporary, her claim was not moot. In addition, the court held that the reasonable promptness provision found in § 1396a(a)(8), gives rise to a right enforceable under § 1983. The court had remanded the case for further proceedings.

For the full text of the 4th Circuit'™s decision, go to: http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/051570.P.pdf