HHS cuts Medicare appeals backlog by 43%

HHS is making progress on reducing the backlog of Medicare appeals at the administrative law judge level, according to a recent status report.

In 2018, a federal judge ordered HHS to incrementally reduce the backlog over four years. The department was ordered to cut the backlog by 19 percent by the end of fiscal year 2019; 49 percent by the end of fiscal year 2020; 75 percent by the end of fiscal year 2021; and to completely eliminate the backlog by the end of fiscal year 2022.

According to the June 26 status report, HHS is ahead of the targets established by the court. 

"By the end of the second quarter of 2020, a total of 242,995 appeals remain pending at OMHA  [Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals], which is a 43 percent reduction from the starting number of appeals identified in the court's order (426,594 appeals)," states the report. 

The federal court imposed the deadline-based targets as a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Hospital Association. 

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