The government is appealing a federal judge's decision to award up to $341 million in extra Medicare payments to a group of 211 hospitals.
The hospitals sued HHS in 1993 in U.S. District Court in Washington, claiming that Medicare underpaid them in 1985 and 1984 for treating "outlier" patients.
"Outliers" are cases involving unusually long or costly hospital stays. When Medicare moved to a prospective payment system in 1984, it agreed to pay hospitals extra money for such cases.
In January, U.S. District Judge Stanley Harris agreed with the hospitals, which claimed that a large chunk of the money set aside for outliers was never paid to them (Jan. 26, p. 8).
The government filed in U.S. Appeals Court in Washington to challenge Harris' decision June 29, after a final judgment against the government was entered in April. The court is expected to set a briefing schedule this fall.