Nursing home residents sue for at-home care

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Since a stroke four years ago, 66-year-old Bud Lee can't lift himself out of bed or take himself to the bathroom. He would like to regain a bit of his old independence.

John Boyd, 50, has been paralyzed since 14. He would like an apartment of his own and a job, like when he answered customer service phones for Red Lobster a few years back.

Instead, both men live in nursing homes, a frequent situation when Florida Medicaid pays the bills.

That may change.

Lee, Boyd and five other nursing home residents backed by the AARP Foundation have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Florida under the Americans with Disabilities Act, citing a 1999 court ruling that helped spring mentally ill people from big, impersonal hospitals.