A Texas appeals court delivered a big loss on Thursday to a group of home health agencies and parents of children with disabilities who sued the state over payment cuts to in-home therapy providers.
The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals ruled the group’s lawsuit, which sought to block a roughly $350 million budget cut ordered by state lawmakers to a publicly financed therapy program, was invalid “for lack of jurisdiction.” The justices also overrode a lower court’s decision that temporarily blocked state officials from implementing the cuts, which were scheduled to take effect in October 2015.
The reduced payments to therapists were ordered by the Legislature last year but were temporarily halted by a state district judge on the grounds that they might irreparably harm children. Speech, physical and occupational therapists argued they would be forced to stop treating children under the state’s current two-year budget, which includes a roughly 25 percent cut to the amount of money some pediatric therapists are paid by Medicaid, the joint federal-state insurer for the poor and disabled.
Dan Richards, the lead attorney challenging the state, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the ruling and would ask federal health officials to intervene.