Judge Orders Insurance Company To Pay For Nashville Man's Hospital
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 21, 2006
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE--A judge on Thursday ordered an insurance company to continue paying for Glenn Barnhill to stay at a Nashville hospital with a 24-hour attendant, while it is decided whether he will go back to his own apartment or to a nursing home.
Barnhill, 46, uses a ventilator to breathe. He needs a trained attendant to be present at all times to make sure the equipment is functioning properly.
For the past three years, Barnhill has been living in his own apartment with the help of a private duty nurse provided by Complete Home Health Inc. But on March 8, Complete gave Barnhill 30 days notice that they would be ending his in-home care.
At the end of the 30 days, responsibility for Barnhill's care then fell to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which administers the TennCare Select program. BCBS officials claimed that, after contacting more than 40 home health agencies, they were not able to find one that could meet Barnhill's needs.
So, Barnhill was moved from the independence of his apartment to the intensive care unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Barnhill's attorney, Linda McLemore, told The City Paper that BCBS didn't even start calling home health care agencies until April 7 -- 29 days after they were notified that Complete's services would end.
Last week, Barnhill told a Davidson County Chancery Court judge that he spent five years in a nursing home, and does not want to go back.
"I was experiencing total horror, fear and absolute helplessness," he told Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle about his time at the nursing home.
Hundreds of activists from the disability rights group ADAPT came to Nashville from around the country last month to protest the state's policies regarding in-home supports for its citizens that have disabilities. The protesters blocked city streets near the Capitol, in part to draw attention to the fact that the governor and lawmakers cut funds to help dozens of Tennesseans who use ventilators to stay in their own homes rather than nursing homes.
Advocates said that the state spends nearly $190 on nursing home services for every $1 it spends on home and community-based supports.
Hobbs Lyle said she wants attorneys to draw up a plan to move Barnhill to some kind of residential program, such as an assisted living facility, where he would have more independence than a nursing facility.
Barnhill said he's not done fighting to get back into his own place.
"It's far from over. I have absolutely no intentions of giving up on this thing," he said.
Paralyzed mans care to continue" (Nashville City Paper)
"One man's struggle to regain some independence" (Nashville City Paper)
"Quadriplegic man to stay at VUMC" (Nashville City Paper)