Partner Ed Brooks and associate Steven Hamilton (Chicago) recently filed a pro bono appeal in the Illinois
Appellate Court, First District, on behalf of Mooseheart Child City and School,
and approximately 400 of its minor residents seeking to reverse the dismissal of
their claim for reimbursement of benefits under Illinois' Children Health
Insurance Program Act ("KidCare") and Covering ALL KIDS Health Insurance Act
Mooseheart is located west of Chicago and is a residential and educational
facility for children from infancy through high school whose families are unable
to care for them. Mooseheart, founded by the Loyal Order of the Moose, has been
caring for children since 1913. At one point during the Great Depression,
Mooseheart cared for nearly 1,400 children.
In the trial court, Mooseheart alleged that the Illinois Department of
Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) wrongfully refused applications for
statutory healthcare benefits made on behalf of its children for four years
before changing course and finally granting benefits in 2006. Mooseheart’s
complaint sought a declaration that its children were always entitled to KidCare
and All Kids benefits, and that HFS had authority to grant relief backdated to
the date of each eligible child’s first application. Mooseheart also asked the
trial court to reverse an HFS administrative finding that it was not entitled to
seek reimbursement for payment of past medical expenses.
The trial court upheld the HFS administrative decision and dismissed
Mooseheart’s claims based on, among other things, the doctrine of sovereign
immunity and that Illinois law did not allow retroactive benefits. McGuire
Woods, on behalf of Mooseheart, is seeking to reverse that decision and recover
the benefits for Mooseheart’s children.