Supreme Court to Review Notice Requirements for Medicare Payment Rules

Between $3 and $4 billion in Medicare hospital reimbursements hang in the balance due to a case that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide by this June. Whether hospitals can get their hands on this money will turn on basic questions of administrative procedure. In Azar v. Allina Health Services, the Court will decide whether the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—which administers the Medicare program—must go through the full notice-and-comment rulemaking process before changing the formula for reimbursing hospitals with large numbers of low-income patients. The decision will come down to how the Court interprets a key provision of the Medicare Act and its relationship to a separate statute which governs rulemaking procedure for federal agencies, the Administrative Procedure Act. When HHS adopted a new, less generous reimbursement formula without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment, a group of healthcare providers filed suit, crying…

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