Articles Posted in Public Benefits

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The seven consolidated cases in this appeal all involve attempts by assignees of a health maintenance organization (HMO) to recover conditional payments via the Medicare Secondary Payer Act's (MSP Act), 42 U.S.C. 1395y(b)(2)(B)(ii), (b)(3)(A), private cause of action. At issue is whether a contractual obligation, without more (specifically, without a judgment or settlement agreement from a separate proceeding), can satisfy the “demonstrated responsibility” requirement of the private cause of action provided for by the MSP Act. The court held that a plaintiff suing a primary plan under the private cause of action in the MSP Act may satisfy the demonstrated responsibility prerequisite by alleging the existence of a contractual obligation to pay. A judgment or settlement from a separate proceeding is not necessary. Therefore, the court vacated the district courts' judgments and remanded for further proceedings. View "MSP Recovery LLC v. AllState Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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The Secretary determined that Bayou Shores was not in substantial compliance with the Medicare program participation requirements, and that conditions in its facility constituted an immediate jeopardy to residents’ health and safety. The bankruptcy court assumed authority over Medicare and Medicaid provider agreements as part of the debtor’s estate, enjoined the Secretary from terminating the provider agreements, determined for itself that Bayou Shores was qualified to participate in the provider agreements, required the Secretary to maintain the stream of monetary benefit under the agreements, reorganized the debtor’s estate, and finally issued its Confirmation Order. The district court upheld the Secretary’s jurisdictional challenge and reversed the Confirmation Order with respect to the assumption of the debtor’s Medicare and Medicaid provider agreements. The court concluded that the statutory revision in this case does not demonstrate Congress's clear intention to vest the bankruptcy courts with jurisdiction over Medicare claims. Therefore, the court agreed with the district court that the bankruptcy court erred as a matter of law when it exercised subject matter jurisdiction over the provider agreements in this case. The bankruptcy court was without 28 U.S.C. 1334 jurisdiction under the 42 U.S.C. 405(h) bar to issue orders enjoining the termination of the provider agreements and to further order the assumption of the provider agreements. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Florida Agency for Health Care Admin. v. Bayou Shores" on Justia Law

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VRC filed suit against HHS and the Secretary, seeking the recoupment of payments VRC returned to Medicare after it was issued notice of an overpayment. At issue is the reimbursement rate of the intravitreal injection of Lucentis. VRC did not follow the Lucentis label’s instructions limiting dosage to one per vial. Instead, VRC treated up to three patients from a single vial. Because VRC was extracting up to three doses from a single vial, it was reimbursed for three times the average cost of the vial and three times the amount it would have received had it administered the drug according to the label. The court affirmed the denial of recoupment, concluding that VRC's charge to Medicare did not reflect its expense and was not medically reasonable; the Secretary's decision was supported by substantial evidence; and VRC is liable for the overpayment. View "Vitreo Retinal Consultants v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the denial of her application for disability insurance benefits, contending in part that the district court should have remanded the case to the Commissioner for further proceedings to consider new evidence. The court agreed with the Sixth Circuit's rejection of the notion that the mere existence of a subsequent decision in the claimant's favor, standing alone, warranted reconsideration of the first application. In this case, the only “new evidence” plaintiff cites in support of her request for remand is the later favorable decision. The court concluded that the later decision is not evidence for purposes of 42 U.S.C. 405(g). Because plaintiff does not offer any other new evidence, she has not established that remand is warranted. The court also concluded that the ALJ's conclusion that plaintiff was able to perform light work was supported by substantial evidence and that the ALJ gave adequate weight to the opinion of her treating physician, finding it inconsistent with the medical records and other evidence. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Hunter v. SSA" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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Plaintiff appealed the denial of his application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. The court held that the Appeals Council committed legal error when it failed to consider materials from a psychologist who examined plaintiff. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions. View "Washington v. SSA" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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Plaintiff appealed the denial of his application for disability insurance benefits and supplementary security income, arguing that the ALJ erred in refusing to give proper weight to the opinion of a consultative examining physician, and in finding that plaintiff's 2012 testimony was not credible and failing to consider his vision limitations when evaluating his residual functioning capacity. The court agreed that the ALJ erred in both respects and reversed the judgment of the district court, remanding for further proceedings. View "Henry v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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Petitioner Rachel Parks appealed an administrative law judge's denial of her application for supplemental security income on behalf of her minor son, D.P. D.P. suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and borderline intellectual functioning. An administrative law judge denied Parks’s application because D.P. did not suffer from a condition that entitled him to supplemental security income. Parks filed a request for review with the Appeals Council, and she submitted new evidence of D.P.’s academic struggles. The Appeals Council supplemented the record with the new evidence, but denied review. Parks then filed a complaint in the district court, which affirmed the denial of her application. She argued on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit: (1) the administrative law judge's denial of Parks's application was not supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the Social Security Appeals Council needed to make explicit findings of fact about new evidence that it added to the record when it denied review. Because the administrative law judge’s decision was supported by substantial evidence and the Appeals Council was not required to make specific findings about Parks’s new evidence, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. View "Parks v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to written plea agreements, defendants Yolanda Sosa and Adrian Velazquez pled guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. For a five month period in 2011, Defendants met with a "cooperating doctor" and paid the doctor for prescriptions that Defendants could use to fraudulently bill Medicare. Specifically, Defendants provided the cooperating doctor with Medicare beneficiary information and paid the doctor thousands of dollars to write prescriptions for expensive medications that were not actually given to any patients. The doctor never saw or evaluated the patients, and instead wrote the prescriptions for whatever medications Defendants requested. Defendants gave the fraudulent prescriptions to various pharmacies, which submitted false claims to Medicare based on the prescriptions. As a result, Medicare paid the pharmacies approximately $753,430 based on the false claims. The pharmacies paid Defendants over $60,000 for obtaining the fraudulent prescriptions. Defendants appealed two forfeiture orders entered by the district court after it imposed joint-and-several restitution against them, specifically challenging the restitution amount and the forfeiture of two cars. After careful review of the record and the parties' briefs, and with the benefit of oral argument, the Eleventh Circuit found no reversible error and affirmed the district court. View "United States v. Velazquez" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the denial of his application for supplemental security income (SSI). The court concluded that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision denying plaintiff's application for SSI where the ALJ's decision in this case was not a broad rejection and was sufficient to enable the district court and this court to conclude that the ALJ considered plaintiff's medical condition as whole. The court held that the Appeals Council is not required to explain its rationale when denying a request for review and concluded that the new evidence plaintiff submitted did not render the Commissioner's denial of benefits erroneous. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Mitchell v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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The Hospital filed suit against various federal agencies and officials, seeking a declaratory judgment that 18 U.S.C. 4006(b)(1), where Congress has elected to impose the Medicare rate as full compensation for medical services rendered to federal detainees, is unconstitutional as applied. The court concluded that the Hospital voluntarily opted into the Medicare program and is, as a result, required to provide emergency services to federal detainees. Consequently, the Hospital was foreclosed from challenging this compensation scheme as an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment. The court noted that the Hospital's most effective remedy may lie with Congress rather than the courts. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action.View "Baker County Medical Services v. U.S. Attorney General, et al." on Justia Law