Hinkle, et al. v. Kent, et al.
On October 18, 2018, DRA and a coalition of blind advocates filed a class action lawsuit in Federal Court against the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and its county agents for failing to provide Medi-Cal notices in accessible formats, such as Braille. The plaintiffs are the California Council of the Blind and three individuals; co-counsel is the Disability Rights and Education Fund and Disability Rights California. Read the complaint below.
When blind individuals request accessible versions of Medi-Cal notices, DHCS and its county agents either fail to provide accessible versions or fail to do so in a timely manner. For example, plaintiff Lena Hinkle waited more than eight months to receive a Braille version of a Medi-Cal notice containing time-sensitive information. This discrimination may cause blind Medi-Cal consumers to lose their benefits.
Providing information to blind individuals in alternative formats such as Braille or large print is required by federal and California anti-discrimination laws.
To solve the problem, DHCS and the counties need to (1) identify people who need communication in Braille or other accessible formats, and (2) respond appropriately to requests for accessible formats.
Plaintiffs seek equal access to Medi-Cal for themselves and other blind consumers. Their ultimate goal is to ensure DHCS institutes a comprehensive remedial plan to properly identify and accommodate blind Medi-Cal consumers.
California Council of the Blind (CCB) is a non-profit membership organization composed of Californians who are blind or have low vision. CCB’s mission is to gain full independence and equality of opportunity for all blind and visually impaired Californians. To read more about CCB visit: http://www.ccbnet.org/.
Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), founded in 1993, is a nonprofit disability rights legal center that seeks to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with all types of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. For more information, visit dralegal.org.
Disability Rights California (DRC) Disability Rights California is a non-profit organization founded in 1978. DRC protects the rights of people with disabilities. For more information, visit disabilityrightsca.org.
The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), founded in 1979, is a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities. DREDF engages in legal advocacy, training, education, and public policy and legislative development to ensure people with disabilities live full and independent lives free of discrimination. For more information, visit www.dredf.org.