DOJ Asks: Is Fla. Unnecessarily Placing Disabled Kids In Nursing Homes?

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(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Legislative Session Coverage

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Officials from state agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice met Thursday to discuss whether Florida is unnecessarily placing disabled children in nursing homes.

The meeting did not resolve the dispute, which stems from a federal investigation and allegations that Florida has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Michelle Dahnke, a spokeswoman for the state Agency for Health Care Administration, said in an email that the meeting led to a better understanding of the positions taken by federal and state officials. “The state still believes we are not in violation of federal law and that DOJ’s assertions are unfounded,” she said.

Dahnke said the two sides expect to have further discussions, though it is unknown whether they will have more face-to-face meetings.

The investigation, which has received widespread attention, centers on children with costly, complex medical conditions who have been placed in nursing homes.

The Department of Justice contends that many of the children could live at home or in community settings if adequate services were provided. But AHCA says parents decide where their children will live.

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