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More car crash patients losing care, as providers lose hope for a legislative fix to auto no-fault law

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Tracy Samilton | Michigan Radio
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Auto accident survivors protest new law cutting them off from care at State Capitol, summer 2021.

Home care agencies are discharging severely injured car crash patients at a faster pace.

That's because there's been no fix to the 2019 auto no-fault law. The law lets insurance companies pay only about half the cost of care.

At Arcadia Home Care, which has locations throughout Michigan, half the agency's car crash patients are being let go this month.

Executive Theresa Ruediselli says there are no good alternatives for the patients. She says it's heartbreaking to see families scrambling to come up with ways to care for loved ones, who used to be able to live at home.

"Some family members are taking Family Medical Leave Act time off, in a stop-gap type of manner, with no idea what they'll do when it runs out — and other patients are being institutionalized," she said.

Ruediselli said there are very few nursing homes willing to accept auto accident survivors. One of the families of a discharged Arcadia patient had to pay a nursing home a down payment of $10,000 in order to secure a placement for him, she says.

Arcadia also cares for Red Wings legend Vladimir Konstantinov, who was severely injured in a car crash in 1997. Friends and family are trying to fundraise so he doesn't lose his care, too.

Another home care agency will be discharging most of its car crash patients on June 30. First Call Home Health Care said it can no longer sustain financial losses due to insurance companies failing to pay for care of auto accident survivors.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.