Squeezed by state, frail adults fight for in-home care

For the past 10 months, Adriana Parrales has been confined to her bed, breathing through a ventilator and fighting her insurance company for her life.

Her days are spent with nurses monitoring vital signs that can be stable one minute and swing out of control the next, because of a genetic condition that causes debilitating tumors on Parrales’ brain and spine.

After she was placed on a ventilator that has breathed for her since she was “trached” last December, her insurer — Florida’s Medicaid program — tried to deny her the round-the-clock nursing care she needed to stay out of the hospital and in her home.

In August, Parrales — who suffers from a genetic disorder that afflicts 100,000 Americans — joined a class-action lawsuit with four other Floridians, challenging the state’s oversight of community-based and in-home care for thousands of frail elders and adults with serious disabilities. The suit alleges that a lack of clear standards is to blame for the repeated denials of care that Parrales and other patients have to fight on a daily basis.

“They just shuffle you in circles just waiting for you to go back to the hospital or hoping you die,” said Adriana’s mother, Rita Parrales.

– Miami Herald

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