Round Two Goes to Consumer Watchdog in Autism Battle

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Ever play a game with a poor loser who tries to change the rules when the chips are down?

The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) is trying to do something like that in our lawsuit over care denials for autistic kids. Only thing is, caring for children with autism is no game.

Just weeks before our scheduled December 13 trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, the DMHC is doing some last-minute "forum-shopping." I'm not taking about the post-Turkey day Black Friday tradition — they're actually trying to get our case moved to friendlier turf.

The DMHC's ploy is to attempt to consolidate our case with another lawsuit filed by the California Association of Health Plans (CAHP) — a lobbying group representing health insurers — seeking to further weaken the DMHC's authority to order coverage for children with autism. Its a last minute desperate ploy. As you might remember, the Los Angeles judge in our case came back with a very strong interim ruling with key substantive findings in our favor (that was round one) and my guess is that the DMHC is worried about the trial.  

Last Friday, the state regulator went into court in Sacramento in attempt to shorten the time required for a hearing to transfer our case. Consumer Watchdog and co-counsel Stumwasser & Woocher, opposed, and the DMHC's motion was denied.

The consolidation and transfer of our case with CAHP suit in Sacramento could set us back many months and would be devastating to the many families already suffering huge delays in care for their autistic children.

On December 8th we're back in court again for the full hearing on the DMHC's transfer motion. Our trial begins the following Monday in Los Angeles.

Jerry Flanagan
Jerry Flanagan
Jerry Flanagan is Consumer Watchdog's Litigation Director. Flanagan leads Consumer Watchdog’s litigation efforts in the areas of health insurance coverage and access to treatments. He has over 20 years experience working in public interest and health care policy, legislation and litigation.

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