Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison Helps Preserve Essential Healthcare Services for Young Girl

Thanks to the work of the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) and the contributions of SRVH attorneys Chris Sabis and Micah Bradley, ten-year-old pro bono client Ava Gray Whitacre will continue receiving the skilled nursing care she needs.

Ava Gray has severe epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and numerous other chronic medical conditions. She is legally blind, unable to walk or speak, and is at constant risk of a catastrophic seizure. The Medicaid benefits she and her family receive through TennCare are vital to her daily living and ongoing health.

Despite Ava Gray’s complete dependence on others, her constant need for medical assessment and care, and her treating physician’s belief that 24/7 skilled nursing care would be medically necessary and reasonable, TennCare cut her skilled nursing benefits from 132 hours per week to 119 hours. This was the latest in a series of efforts by TennCare to reduce Ava Gray’s covered care.

The TJC agreed to represent Ava Gray in appealing TennCare’s decision. HCA Healthcare counsel Jason Ehrlinspiel and SRVH attorneys Chris Sabis and Micah Bradley served as counsel for Ava Gray on behalf of the TJC. After an evidentiary hearing with testimony from multiple witnesses, an administrative law judge issued an order on November 10, 2021, granting Ava Gray’s petition to reinstate the full 132 hours of skilled nursing care.

SRVH was honored to represent Ava Gray and work with her mother, Julie Whitacre, who works so hard to provide a safe and nurturing environment for her daughter. We are thrilled Ava will continue to receive essential skilled nursing services. SRVH is grateful to TJC and to Jason for the opportunity to participate in this case.

Chris heads the firm’s Government Compliance & Investigations group and concentrates his practice in the areas of Government Investigations, Litigation, and Healthcare. Before joining the firm, Chris served nearly a decade as an assistant United States attorney in the Middle District of Tennessee.

Micah is a member of the firm’s Litigation Group and a 2020 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School where she earned the Founder’s Medal for first honors and worked as the senior en banc editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and as an articles editor for the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review. Before joining SRVH, she was a law clerk for the Honorable Eli Richardson in the Middle District of Tennessee. Micah played a critical role in this victory, one of many she will surely have in her legal career.