Court pressures HHS over audit backlog

Thursday, September 22, 2016

WASHINGTON – A federal court has ordered the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to solve the backlog at the Administrative Law Judge level, according to an update from The VGM Group. In a decision handed down Sept. 19, the court denied HHS’s request to put litigation with the American Hospital Association on hold until Sept. 30, 2017. “Between fiscal years 2010 and 2014, the number of appeals filed at step three grew 936%, from 41,733 to 423,534,” noted the D.C. court. “Because of the consequent financial burden, some providers are ‘forced…to reduce costs, eliminate jobs, forgo services, and substantially scale back,’ all of which affects the quality and quantity of patient care.” While ordering HHS to resolve each pending appeal by the prescribed deadlines was described as “wishful thinking” by the court, VGM called the ruling “a great win for the health care industry.”