CPR and the Commonwealth Jointly Move to Dismiss Successful Class Action Case on Behalf of Individuals with Acquired Brain Injuries in Nursing Facilities

August 24, 2021

On August 24, 2021, CPR joined Massachusetts officials in requesting dismissal of Hutchinson v. Patrick, an ADA class action lawsuit which dramatically expanded outreach, transition planning, and home and community-based services for individuals with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI).  Originally filed in 2007, the Hutchinson case was brought on behalf of thousands of persons with ABI who were unnecessarily institutionalized in nursing and long-term rehabilitation facilities, and two organizational plaintiffs – the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIAMA) and the Stavros Center for Independent Living.  After the Court granted class certification, the Commonwealth agreed to settle the litigation by creating a comprehensive community services program for persons with brain injuries.

Over the past ten years, CPR worked with State officials to implement, monitor, and secure compliance with, two court-enforceable Settlement Agreements.  These Agreements established four Medicaid-funded Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) programs that provide a range of community services, including care management, residential services, individual support and community services, home maker and personal care services, supported employment, day services, peer companions, home accessibility adaptations, transportation, and maintenance therapies.  Program participants also receive person-centered transition planning and Individual Service Plans (ISPs) that reflect their goals and vision for community living.

Under the 2013 Amended Agreement, the Commonwealth transitioned 1,187 persons with ABI from nursing facilities to homes in the community.  The State also developed program policies, quality assurance procedures, and outreach strategies to provide persons with ABI with individualized information and opportunities to make an informed choice between nursing facilities and community-based services.

By late 2020, the Commonwealth had completed its systemic improvements and facilitated the remaining individual transitions covered by the Amended Agreement.  As a result, CPR and lawyers for the State agreed to ask the Court to dismiss the case.  Their joint motion and legal memorandum describe the Commonwealth’s actions to comply with the Amended Agreement, the accomplishments of the litigation, and the benefits for persons with brain injuries.  In these court documents, the Commonwealth confirmed its intention to continue direct outreach to persons with ABI who remain segregated in nursing facilities, and to expand community residential services, as evidenced by its decision to renew the ABI and MFP waiver programs beyond the term of the Amended Agreement. 

The Court will likely hold a hearing to determine if the case should be dismissed.  Additional information about the impact of the Hutchinson case, and community resources for individuals with ABI, can be found at www.biama.org.