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Transportation & Infrastructure

Hundreds of people like former Red Wings player Vladimir Konstantinov losing home care after car crashes

Vladimir Konstantinov in 2014
Detroit Red Wings
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Vladimir Konstantinov (right) in 2014.

A well-known figure to hockey fans is about to to join the hundreds of auto accident survivors adversely affected by Michigan's new auto insurance law.

Vladimir Konstantinov was severely injured in a car crash six days after he helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997. Since then, he has relied on Michigan's nationally-renowned system of care for auto accident victims, receiving 24/7 professional care in his home, along with therapies to help him regain physical and mental functions.

But WXYZ - Channel 7 Detroit - reports his home care agency will likely have to close soon. That's because the new law cuts payments to home care agencies below the cost of providing the care. Many have already closed, and the remainder are expected to close in October and November.

Steve Gursten is an attorney with Michigan Auto Law who represents accident victims.

"What's happening to Mr. Konstantinov is literally what's happening to the care providers for hundreds of people," said Gursten. "These poor people like Mr. Konstantinov are literally being crushed. They're desperately in need of this life-saving care."

Case managers who help people severely injured in car crashes say Michigan is not prepared for the coming collapse of the home care system. The new auto insurance law requires nursing homes that accept such survivors, who often need one-to-one care, to be nationally accredited for such care, and only a fraction of them are at this point.

Survivors who have already lost their home care have been landing in hospitals, with extended waits of up to a month before a place can be found for them that's capable of caring for their needs. Many of the accident survivors about to lose all their care require a nurse at their side at all times because they are on a ventilator, or they suffer seizures due to severe brain damage and need to be monitored constantly.

Several bills have been introduced in the State House and Senate to prevent the collapse of the home care system for auto accident survivors. No hearings have been scheduled on the bills. Governor Whitmer has called on the state legislature to fix the law, but Republican leaders in the House and Senate have taken no action to do that.

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