2-20-13 W.Va. proposal aims to help Medicaid recover costs

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A recent court ruling has Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin asking lawmakers to help West Virginia recover Medicaid spending.

Legislation introduced on the governor’s behalf addresses when someone on Medicaid receives a damage award or court settlement.

A divided state Supreme Court ruled in a case involving a Hancock County child born with severe brain damage. The resulting medical malpractice lawsuit was settled for $3.6 million.

Medicaid tried to recoup some of the $571,000 it spent on the child’s health expenses. The June ruling limited Medicaid’s recovery to just $96,000.

Tomblin’s bill would mandate advance notice of such lawsuits and making Medicaid a party in the case. Any settlement would require the program’s approval or go before a judge.

But left unresolved is the question of Medicaid recovering future expenses.

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