Duke Health, Geisinger sue HHS over Medicare payments

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

Five hospitals recently sued HHS over its calculation of Medicare Part A disproportionate share hospital payments for patients who were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans under Part C of the Medicare Act.

The federal lawsuit was filed Dec. 21 by Duke Raleigh (N.C.) Hospital, Durham (N.C.) Regional Hospital, Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and The Washington (Pa.) Hospital. 

The hospitals' lawsuit takes issue with a Medicare policy change, adopted in 2004, that included a new methodology for allocating Medicare Part C days in the disproportionate share hospital formula. The appeals court has ruled against HHS in three actions challenging its attempts to apply its Part C days policy to deny DSH payments to hospitals. However, the hospitals argue that HHS is disregarding those decisions and a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

"The agency has continued to apply the Part C days policy adopted in the now-vacated 2004 rule in violation of these decisions, including in the payment determinations at issue for the plaintiff hospitals in this case, in a recently issued proposed rule seeking to re-adopt the same 2004 policy retroactively, and in a ruling that would leave undisturbed the payment determinations from which hospitals have appealed and, as construed by the agency's administrative Board, not permit further administrative or judicial review of those determinations," the complaint filed Dec. 21 states. 

The hospitals argue that HHS' attempts to apply the policy should be rejected. The hospitals are asking the court to declare the final payment determinations reflecting the policy change invalid. 


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