SEATTLE, Feb. 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Keller Rohrback L.L.P. represented plaintiffs in a case that successfully challenged the constitutionality of a 2006 law creating Washington's Health Technology Clinical Committee (HTCC). Under a newly announced settlement, the State of Washington waived its right to appeal King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus's ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The State must pay the cost of plaintiffs' spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and implement certain measures to bring the HTCC into compliance with the Washington Constitution.
The name of the case was Sund v. Regence BlueShield, King County Superior Court No. 13-2-03122-1 SEA.
Keller Rohrback represented a former judge and his wife, both insured under the Uniform Medical Plan (UMP). The UMP, which is run by the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA), is a health plan offered to state employees. The plan denied a request for SCS based on an HTCC edict prohibiting coverage for SCS in cases of chronic neuropathic pain—even though doctors believed SCS was medically necessary to treat the judge's crippling pain. The HTCC is a committee with power to prohibit agencies from covering health technologies. Represented by the State Attorney General, the UMP argued that a provision of the HTCC law—RCW 70.14.120(3)—stripped courts of the power of judicial review over HTCC decisions.
Keller Rohrback partner Isaac Ruiz said, "The idea that a government decision can prohibit someone from receiving a life-saving treatment without any way to appeal the decision should send shivers up the spines of people who care about good government and accountability."
Last October, Keller Rohrback obtained the ruling that RCW 70.14.120(3) was an unconstitutional delegation of lawmaking power because there were insufficient procedural safeguards to control arbitrary or abusive agency action.
According to Keller Rohrback partner William C. Smart, "HTCC decisions affect people who obtain health care through the HCA, the Department of Labor and Industries, and the Department of Social and Health Services. Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians stand to benefit from the new review procedures mandated by the settlement."
"Obviously, we are extremely pleased that our client was able to get the procedure he needed."
Joining Smart and Ruiz on the case was associate Kathryn M. Knudsen.
For more information about this case or the rights of insureds, contact attorneys William C. Smart and Isaac Ruiz at (800) 776-6044 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keller Rohrback L.L.P., with offices in Seattle, Phoenix, New York, and Santa Barbara, serves as lead and co-lead counsel in lawsuits throughout the country and is proud to offer its expertise to clients nationwide, and our trial lawyers have obtained judgments and settlements on behalf of clients in excess of seven billion dollars.