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Supreme Court uphold DHS medical assistance claim

A recent ruling of the Rhode Island Supreme Court confirmed the priority status of Rhode Island Department of Human Service liens for the payment of nursing home bills through its medical assistance program. In In Re Estate of May Manchester, the estate administrator failed to notify the DHS that an estate has commenced, as required by statute. Several years later when the DHS learned that the estate had been opened, it sought to file a claim against the estate to recoup almost $100,000 it had paid for Ms. Manchester's nursing home bills notwithstanding the fact that the six month deadline for filing claims had expired two and a half years earlier. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the Warren Probate Court which allowed the late claim because the administrator of the estate knew that the DHS was a creditor but ignored the statutory requirement to notify all "reasonably ascertainable creditors."
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