The Supreme Court on Friday issued the decision in Becerra v. Empire Health Foundation (see pdf file at link). Unfortunately, in a 5-4 decision, the Court overruled the Ninth Circuit’s decision and decided instead for the government, holding that the language “entitled to benefits under Part A” does not exclusively refer to a patient who has a right to payment. This means that the Supreme Court has sided with HHS’s decision to include non-covered Medicare Part A days (such as exhausted benefit days and Medicare Secondary Payer days) in the SSI Ratio of the Medicare DSH payment calculation.
In a prior decision, the Ninth Circuit found for providers in May 2020, holding that HHS was treating the words “entitled” and “eligible” synonymously, in contradiction of statute. In a surprising and somewhat puzzling turn, the Supreme Court has disagreed with the Ninth Circuit’s analysis, settling the issue in favor of HHS.
Toyon has been representing many of your interests in appealing the agency’s implementation of the 2005 Rule relating to non-covered Part A days, as providers had consistently held that non-covered Part A days should be excluded from the SSI Fraction and included only in the numerator of the Medicaid Fraction. We are working with our attorneys to determine any potential next steps or strategies that may be available to our clients, in light of this disappointing court decision. We will contact you in the coming weeks as necessary if there is any further opportunity to pursue this issue.
In the meantime, please contact Karen S. Kim at (925) 685-9312 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.