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Patients' relatives sue Missouri DSS over Medicaid waivers

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The lawsuit filed in Cole County Circuit Court claims the state is using waivers allowing the mentally challenged to live outside of institutions to push Bellefontaine residents out, while at the same time withholding waivers for outstate patients who request them.

Attorney Tom Kennedy says the Department of Social Services (DSS) has no rules to ensure waivers are equitably allocated.

"They continue to administer this program in the most arbitrary and capricious manner possible," Kennedy said. "This is an entitlement program. It's like your Social Security program. The idea that one week you get Social Security and the next week you don't because the governor says so that's baloney."

DSS officials declined to comment, other than to say they needed more time to study the lawsuit.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt proposed closing Bellefontaine last year after allegations of abuse surfaced at the facility.

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