HHS policy update: Recent developments include an extension of the public health emergency and notable progress in reducing the Medicare appeals backlog

Nick Hut | April18th, 2022

Progress being made in reducing a vast Medicare appeals backlog

The American Hospital Association (AHA) posted an update showing that HHS has met court-ordered targets for reducing the volume of Medicare appeals on file with the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals.

In a federal court procedure brought by the AHA and several hospitals, HHS was ordered to meet annual targets over a four-year period in eliminating a backlog that totaled more than 425,000 appeals at the time of the court order in 2018. A primary source of the backlog was a shortage of administrative law judges. The shortfall was eased by a congressional infusion of funding in ’18.

HHS has met annual targets and, through Dec. 31, 2021, had reduced the number of pending appeals to 52,641, according to recently released data. The court order requires the backlog to be eliminated by the end of September, which marks the end of the current fiscal year.

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