All GLSP cases are important to the individual client involved. But sometimes a case comes along that allows a legal services lawyer to affect the lives of large numbers of Georgians. Sometimes we can change a state policy, sometimes we can change a law, sometimes we can bring the plight of a large group of people to the attention of officials who can make changes for the better.
Please see below for the story of one such case, and click on the “GLSP 10 of the Best” link to see more cases that, over the years, have had this kind of broad impact.
Weldon V. Medows
In 2010, a Hart County nursing home was threatening to discharge Mrs. Weldon, an 85-year-old retired teacher suffering from dementia, because of unpaid bills. Although Mrs. Weldon was qualified for Medicaid, the program wouldn’t pay for bills incurred before she was accepted. Nor would Medicaid allow her past bills to be paid from her current pension and social security income. Mrs. Weldon’s son came to GLSP desperate to keep his mother cared for. GLSP lawyers found that the state policy that required a patient’s entire current income go into state coffers to offset Medicaid payments was in violation of federal law. A superior court judge heard the case and ordered the state to change its policy. Now state policy complies with the federal statute that allowed past bills to be paid before the state can claim a Medicaid patient’s income. Mrs. Weldon and hundreds of other Georgia nursing facility residents were able to stay in their homes. (Weldon v. Medows, No. 08-CV-154469)