Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order affirming the denial of LeVeta Winslow's 2016 application for Medicaid benefits, holding that Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care properly determined that Winslow was ineligible for Medicaid due to excess resources. DHHS determined that Winslow was ineligible for Medicaid because her resources, which included a house, were above $4,000. The district court affirmed the denial of benefits, finding that the house did not qualify for Winslow's home and thus was not exempt from consideration as an available resource as Winslow's home. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that the house was not subject to the home exemption for Winslow's Medicaid application; (2) the district court erred in determining that the property was not eligible for the other real property exception because Winslow lacked authority to liquidate while it was held by a revocable trust; and (3) Winslow failed to provide sufficient documentation that she was under the available resource limit if she could exclude the house, and therefore, the district court did not err in failing to find that DHHS was required to provide Winslow an IM-1 form for the house while it was held by the trust. View "Winslow v. State ex rel. Peterson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the decision of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) terminating Appellant's status as a Medicaid service provider, holding that the district court's affirmance of the sanction imposed by DHHS was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. Based on Appellant's failures to adhere to the standards for participation in Medicaid, DHHS terminated Appellant's provider agreements for good cause and then informed Appellant of her permanent exclusion from the Medicaid program. The DHHS director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care ruled that DHHS' decision to terminate Appellant as a Medicaid service provider was proper. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court's finding that Appellant billed for overlapping services was based on competent evidence; and (2) DHHS' sanction to permanently exclude Appellant from the Medicaid program was not arbitrary or capricious. View "Tran v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court on remand in this case involving a claimant’s eligibility for Medicaid funding, holding that the district court erred in its instructions on remand. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services determined that Paige V. was ineligible for Medicaid funding through he Nebraska Medicaid Assistance Program and, thus, ineligible for “assistance to the aged, blind, or disabled” (AABD) Medicaid waiver services. Paige’s parents sought review. The district court (1) found that the evidence showed that Paige was disabled for purposes of determining Medicaid benefits, and (2) remanded the matter with directions to award Page AABD waiver services and to reimburse her parents for medical expenses. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the portion of the district court’s order finding that Paige was disabled, but (2) reversed the district court’s order of remanded that awarded Medicaid waiver services because the district court exceeded its scope of review in determining that Paige was eligible for Medicaid waiver services. The Court remanded the case. View "Leon V. v. Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the district court affirming the decision of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) terminating the Medicaid benefits of Eric S., holding that the corpus of a trust was not available to Eric for purposes of determining his Medicaid eligibility. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trust at issue was properly characterized as a testamentary trust; (2) applying Pohlmann v. Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, 710 N.W.2d 639 (Neb. 2006), the trust was a discretionary trust, and Eric did not have the ability to compel distribution of the entire corpus; and (3) therefore, it was error to find the entire trust corpus was an available resource in evaluating Eric’s eligibility for Medicaid. View "Donna G. v. Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider Azar Webb’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim in the same lawsuit in which the court considered an appeal from a contested case under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and whether, as a result, the court lacked the authority to award Webb attorney fees. After the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) ended Webb’s Medicaid benefits and denied his petition for reinstatement, Webb filed a claim in the district court under the APA for unlawful termination of Medicaid eligibility, adding a claim of violation of his federal rights under section 1983. The district court reversed DHHS’ decision and ordered reinstatement of Webb’s coverage and reimbursement of medical expenses that should have been covered. The court further found in favor of Webb as to his 1983 claim and enjoined DHHS officials from denying Webb Medicaid eligibility. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that once the district court resolved Webb’s APA claim, the court had the authority to grant Webb relief under section 1983 and his request for attorney fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1988. View "Webb v. Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

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In this challenge to an initiative petition seeking to expand Medicaid coverage the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants, the named sponsors of the petition and the Secretary of State, holding that Appellants’ statutory and constitutional arguments were unavailing. Appellants sought to invalidate an initiative petition that received enough signatures to be placed on the November 2018 ballot. The district dismissed the complaint with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by (1) dismissing as unripe and failing to find merit to Appellant’s claims that the ballot measure was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority and did not meet the statutory criteria for appropriations; (2) finding that the initiative did not violate the single subject rule; and (3) excluding a challenged exhibit from the evidence. View "Christensen v. Gale" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that “medical assistance” provided to Medicaid recipients includes costs for room and board and other “nonmedical” expenses at nursing facilities, and therefore, those costs can be recovered from the recipient’s estate. In this case, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) filed a petition for allowance of a claim for services provided to the decedent while he resided at two different nursing homes. The county court sustained DHHS’ motion for summary judgment, concluding that the services defined as room and board fell within the parameters of services provided under the Medical Assistance Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that DHHS was statutorily authorized to recover the sums it paid for room and board costs and other expenses from the decedent’s estate. View "In re Estate of Vollmann" on Justia Law

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Brayden O. was a seventeen-year-old girl who suffered from Coffin-Lowry Syndrome and other disabilities. Brayden had been receiving home and community-based waiver services through the Medicaid division of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for almost a dozen years before the DHHS determined that Brayden no longer met the necessary qualifications for such services. Merie B., Brayden’s mother, appealed DHHS’ determination, which was affirmed after an administrative appeal hearing. The district court affirmed. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded with directions that the district court order DHHS to reinstate waiver services to Brayden, effective as of the date services were originally terminated. On remand, Merie requested reimbursement for expenses she incurred due to the wrongful termination of Brayden’s services, along with attorney fees. The district court granted the request and entered judgment against DHHS in the amount of $76,260.48. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court was without authority to expand the mandate in Merie B. I and hold an evidentiary hearing on Merie’s “Motion to Determine Expenses.” View "Merie B. on behalf of Brayden O. v. State" on Justia Law

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The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) determined that Darline Liddell-Toney was required to participate in a self-sufficiency program in order to receive benefits under the Welfare Reform Act, despite her documented disability. The district court affirmed the DHSSâ determination. Ms. Liddell-Toney appealed, arguing that the district court erred in finding that the DHSS provided sufficient evidence to prove she was not entitled to an exemption from participating in the program. The Supreme Court found that the evidence clearly indicated that Ms. Liddell-Toney was prevented from working for a substantial period due to her disability. The Court held that the district court erred when it affirmed DHSSâs determination that Ms. Liddell-Toney did not qualify for an exemption from participating in the self-sufficiency program. The Court reversed the judgment of the district court, and remanded the case for further proceedings.