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State's Cut on Briefs Rejected

A federal judge today slapped down a cost-cutting bid by the state's Medicaid program to deny incontinence briefs to adults who need them. 

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System provides the briefs to those younger than 21 who are eligible for the state-run program. But AHCCCS said adults who are disabled and incontinent would get the briefs only when ordered by a doctor to treat skin breakdown or infection. But in a 13-page ruling, Judge Wallace Tashima said the state was off base, and that the briefs are medically necessary supplies the state has to provide. Peri Jude Radecic, director of the Center for Disability Law which filed the lawsuit, said this is an important victory.

"The ruling is important because the AHCCCS policy has had a negative impact on the disability community," said Radecic.  "Without these incontinence briefs, people with disabilities who are incontinent and unable to afford these incontinence briefs are confined to their home and are unable to participate in community activity.)

The judge also rejected the state's contention it cannot afford the cost of the briefs and that requiring AHCCCS to provide them would necessarily mean cuts in other services. The ruling also requires the state to reimburse patients who have had to purchase the supplies in the more than two years the case has been in court.