Hutchinson v. Patrick is a federal class action lawsuit brought on behalf of over 9,000 persons with brain injuries who are unnecessarily confined to nursing facilities in Massachusetts. The case alleges violations of the ADA and the Medicaid Act on behalf of institutionalized persons with acquired brain injuries.
The Center and its co-counsel, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, filed the Hutchinson case in 2007 on behalf of five named plaintiffs, the Brain Injury Association of MA (BIAMA) and the Stavros Center for Independent Living. Named after a 54 year old brain injury survivor who had spent the last ten years of her life in a nursing facility, Hutchinson sought to enforce the rights of institutionalized persons with brain injury to be free from discrimination and segregation in the provision of long-term care, and to receive integrated community services, as guaranteed by the ADA and the Medicaid Act.
After several early procedural victories, including the certification of a class of over 9,000 persons, the Commonwealth agreed to settle the case. In September 2008, a court-ordered Settlement Agreement established a plan to dramatically enhance community-based services in Massachusetts. That Agreement, approved by the Court on September 16, 2008, required the State to: 1) develop a new, comprehensive community service system for persons with brain injuries; 2) transition 1900 nursing and long term care facility residents to the community; and 3) conduct statewide education and outreach activities for consumers, families, providers and other stakeholders to inform them of these new opportunities. The Center was afforded a prominent role in designing and monitoring the new service system.
On June 20, 2013, US District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor gave preliminarily approval to a proposed Amended Settlement Agreement and scheduled a fairness hearing on July 11, 2013. This Amended Agreement will replace the 2008 agreement which the state was unable to fully implement because it could not secure federal grant funding for community-based services, leaving thousands of individuals with brain injuries languishing in facilities across the Commonwealth.
Under the Amended Agreement, the state will use another federal grant project, the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration, as well as other waiver programs, to provide residential and non-residential supports for up to 1174 Medicaid-eligible people with brain injuries who are now in long-term rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes. The MFP project has enabled approximately 35,000 people with chronic conditions and disabilities to transition from facilities to community settings across the country.
The Amended Agreement will expand the existing home and community-based service system for people with brain injuries, allowing eligible class members to receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs – including their own apartments, family homes, shared living arrangements or group homes. In addition, the state must meet annual benchmarks for increasing waiver slots, and implement an extensive education and outreach initiative to ensure class members and their families know about the opportunities afforded under MFP and its waiver programs.
Approximately 200 class members have moved out of facilities since the 2008 Agreement, including two named plaintiffs, Catherine Hutchinson and Raymond Puchalski, and under the Amended Agreement, nearly 1200 more institutionalized people with brain injuries will have the opportunity to move out of nursing facilities and into community residences through 2019.
Documents related to Hutchinson v. Patrick, including the Amended Settlement Agreement, can be found below:
Amended Complaint, part 1 of 2
Amended Complaint, part 2 of 2
Class Certification Order
Final Class Definition
Order Approving Settlement
Fee Decision - District Court
Fee Decision Court of Appeals
Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval
Notice Regarding Amended Comprehensive Settlement Agreement
Amended Settlement Agreement
Press Release - June 20, 2013
Litigation as System Change (October 2008) : A presentation delivered at the NABIS Brain Injury Conference
More information on the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIAMA), including its activities and programs for survivors and families, can be found at www.biama.org
The documents contained on this page and within this web site do not constitute legal advice. Anyone engaged in legal action should consult with an attorney. Attorneys should make their own independent judgments. Local laws vary and the law may have changed since these documents were written. Litigants should fully research any claims or defenses before making them.