A federal lawsuit accuses officials at South Carolina agencies of conspiring with a nonprofit organization to stop providing daytime health services for severely disabled adults and instead send them to work at activity centers bought with taxpayer money.
The lawsuit seeks to restore - or prevent the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs from terminating - the adult day health services of three men ages 41, 29 and 21 identified in the lawsuit by first name only. They receive personal care, meals and nursing services during the day at private facilities, reimbursed by Medicaid, where they can also socialize with other disabled adults, according to the lawsuit.
"The support enables a family to have enough of a break and sharing of care so they can continue to work or can have the emotional stamina to provide care," said Barbara Wright, director of those private facilities, Helping Hands and Hope Bridge. "It's giving them emotional support and taking care of their physical needs as well as providing a safe environment."
The lawsuit seeks class action status for dozens of adults in Lexington and Richland counties who received letters that they no longer qualified for the services, and those across the state at risk of having their service ended.
Lois Park Mole, spokeswoman for the disabilities agency, said the type of day service offered is based on patient evaluations, as their health changes. She did not comment on the lawsuit.