- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed last year that aimed to stop Oklahoma agencies from cutting funding for two programs that help residents with mental and physical disabilities remain in their homes.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Service alerted more than 20,000 Medicaid ADvantage Waiver and Medicaid In-Home Supports Waiver program participants that funding might end December 2017 due to budget issues.

But the agency extended funding through the remainder of the fiscal year after the state Legislature provided additional funds.

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union and Oklahoma Disabilities Law Center went ahead with their case, contending that the threat of future funding cuts continues, The Oklahoman reported. They requested preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting DHS from terminating or reducing waiver benefits and services until community-based services were provided to all fund recipients.

But Chief U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton declined their request Monday and ruled that there was no longer an issue since state agencies ultimately provided funding for the programs.

“Should the State of Oklahoma fail to provide funding for community-based services in future fiscal years, or fail to provide for appropriate alternatives if those services are cut, a live case or controversy may then exist,” Heaton said in his ruling. “At present, one does not.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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