Supreme Court closes door on late appeals of Medicare underpayments

Justices say Congress intended for federal officials to have ultimate authority to decide whether to extend the deadline for contesting past payment amounts. By ALICIA GALLEGOS, amednews staff. Posted Feb. 4, 2013.

Hospital advocates say unfairness is now built into Medicare billing appeals due process after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court preventing claimants from fighting for higher Medicare payments if they don’t find out they were shortchanged until after the statutory deadline to appeal.

In an unanimous decision issued Jan. 22, the justices sided with the Dept. of Health and Human Services by stating that the theory of “equitable tolling” does not apply in Auburn v. Sebelius. That concept allows courts to waive a deadline in extraordinary circumstances. Read More