The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is being sued over its decision to stop contracting with an Augusta nonprofit for its Medicaid ombudsman service in favor of using DHHS staff to fill the role.

Consumers for Affordable Health Care, the Augusta nonprofit that lost the DHHS contract this summer, filed the lawsuit last week in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Executive Director Emily Brostek says Mainers need the ombudsman program to help them navigate the health care system to ensure they’re getting the care they need. The state brought the service in-house this summer, but Brostek has said state law requires that DHHS contract with an outside agency.

Maine lawmakers are expected to consider a proposal to restore the contract for an ombudsman. Rep. Karen Vachon, a Republican from Scarborough, says the state needs to clear up the law on ombudsman services.

Consumers for Affordable Health Care argues in its petition that DHHS is violating state law and jeopardizing ombudsman services, which include assisting people who apply for Medicaid and prescription assistance programs.