The NICA program was intended to reduce doctors’ malpractice bills and provide a dignified existence and financial cushion for families crushed by the delivery of an infant with devastating brain damage. But some parents report a program that’s both indifferent to their fears and hostile to their needs.
A Program Promised to Pay for Brain-Damaged Infants’ Care. Then It Sent Families to Medicaid Instead.
Florida lawmakers stripped parents of the right to sue over births gone terribly wrong, created a program to cover those claims, made hundreds of millions investing the program’s funds and then offloaded much of the actual costs to Medicaid.
While the executive director of the Florida program has sent a letter to families saying they will get more benefits and “services you have long deserved,” some parents ask why NICA waited until lawmakers insisted before embracing reform.
After a series of investigative articles by the Miami Herald and ProPublica, the Florida Legislature passed a host of reforms to a state-run program for children born with catastrophic brain injuries.
Parents Want Justice for Birth Injuries. Hospitals Want to Strip Them of the Right to Make That Decision.
Florida hospitals rely on the state’s NICA program to protect themselves from costly lawsuits. When parents resist, some of those same hospitals ask a judge to appoint an “independent guardian” to take the decision away.
Bills in the Florida House and Senate would increase benefits for families of brain-damaged babies, add parental representation to the program’s board and create an ombudsman, following investigative stories by the Miami Herald and ProPublica.
“We Are Not Here or Funded to ‘Promote the Best Interest’ of the Children,” Wrote the Head of a Program for Brain-Damaged Infants
A Florida program promises support to families of severely brain-damaged infants. Instead, parents have been forced to choose between parenting and a paycheck. Poor communication and bureaucratic hurdles have made the situation worse.
Officials called for reforms hours after an investigation by the Miami Herald and ProPublica identified gaps in a Florida program that strips families of their right to sue when births go horribly wrong.
Ruth Jacques, distraught over the fatal injuries her son suffered during childbirth, couldn’t sue her doctor because of an obscure Florida state law. When she protested at his office, she was told to cease and desist.
A Florida program designed to reduce doctors’ malpractice bills strips families of their right to sue, offering instead a one-time payment and promises to cover medical expenses. Some parents report a bureaucratic nightmare that’s anything but supportive.