Pro Bono Appeal for Mooseheart Child City and School

December 1, 2008

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 (“All Kids”).

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.