HHS asks court to back off

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Department of Health and Human Services has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia not to intervene in the Medicare appeals process.

In a brief filed Nov. 7, HHS asks for the dismissal of a case brought by the American Hospital Association that seeks a court order requiring HHS to implement procedures that would curtail a massive appeals backlog.

HHS recently reopened a settlement program that offers certain hospitals an opportunity to receive nearly two-thirds of their contested reimbursement in exchange for dropping their appeals. The agency told the court in its brief that this program, when combined with a number of other administrative and legislative actions, could reduce the appeals backlog to zero by 2019.

Previously, on Sept. 19, the court denied HHS’s request to put litigation with AHA on hold until Sept. 30, 2017, telling the agency it must solve the backlog at the Administrative Law Judge level.