The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is ahead of schedule to reduce its Medicare Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) appeals backlog, as required by court order, but lawmakers are still looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the Medicare appeals process.
Following a November 1, 2018 federal district court order in American Hospital Association [AHA], et al., vs. Azar (C.V. No. 14-cv-00851) to reduce the Medicare appeals backlog, HHS reported a reduction of 31.4% through the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the third status report (the “Status Report”) filed by HHS to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on December 31, 2019. The Status Report identifies 292,517 appeals remain pending at the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals (OMHA). The 2018 court order requires HHS to achieve a 49% reduction by the end of FY 2020 and to clear the backlog entirely by the end of 2022.
At the time of the court’s decision, OMHA had 426,594 appeals pending and providers were waiting up to five years for an ALJ decision, notwithstanding a 90-day deadline under 42 U.S.C. 1395ff(d)(1)(A). With a 31% reduction so far, HHS is currently approximately 12% ahead of the court’s projected pace for reducing the backlog – at the time of the order, the court projected a 19% reduction by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2019.
Continue Reading HHS Continuing to Reduce Medicare ALJ Appeals Backlog under Court Order; Senators Reintroduce Legislation Striving to Improve Efficiency of Medicare Appeals Process