DHHR spokesman John Law said the department is waiting for federal approval of the waiver application. He said he couldn't comment in detail about the pending litigation.
Among other arguments, DHHR says in legal filings that that Bloom's orders violated the state constitution's separation of powers doctrine. The department also says TBI victims can find services through other Medicaid programs.
Brain injuries can range in severity. They can cause depression, personality changes, memory loss, blurred vision, speech problems and loss of coordination.
Many who suffer the injury can't do routine tasks, said Ginger Dearth, chairwoman of the West Virginia Traumatic Brain/Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Fund Board, which has operated without state funding for more than five years.
"Sometimes it can be as simple as going to the grocery store and not being able to pay the cashier," she said. "Sometimes they'll drive somewhere and they can't remember how to get home."
A waiver program would help people get critical services, she said.
"A lot of these patients would end up in a skilled nursing facility because that's the only place they're able to receive these services," she said. "Most of the time, if you walk into a nursing home and ask for anyone under the age of 50, they probably have a traumatic brain injury and no insurance."
It is a struggle for many families to care for loved ones with TBI, Dearth said.
Some people don't have family that can take care of them, said lawyer Jennifer Wagner of Mountain State Justice, which represents petitioners in the case.
"That's exactly where this waiver would be able to step in -- where there aren't other resources," Wagner said.
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.