Hospitals Appeal Immigrant Emergency Case

May 27, 2015

Credit Wikimedia Commons

 A coalition of hospitals from across the state has appealed a judge's ruling about Medicaid payments for emergency care of undocumented immigrants, according to documents in the case.

Administrative Law Judge John D.C. Newton last month sided with the state Agency for Health Care Administration in a dispute that focuses on the duration of payments. Newton rejected arguments by the hospitals that the agency had overstepped its authority in approving rules related to the payments.

The Medicaid program pays hospitals for emergency services provided to undocumented immigrants, but hospitals and the agency have long clashed about the extent of the payments. In 2012, Newton ruled against AHCA in an earlier case brought by hospitals. That case stemmed from a change that AHCA made in 2010 to allow payments until patients were "stabilized."

The hospitals argued the change was made improperly and that it led to claims being denied and to attempts to recoup money from hospitals.

After that case, AHCA discontinued its use of what Newton described as the "stabilization standard" and changed the process for evaluating claims.

In the latest case, the coalition filed a notice of appeal last week in the 1st District Court of Appeal but did not detail its legal arguments.