March 10, 2016
On Feb. 9, 2016, the D.C. Circuit found that the lower court has the authority to order the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to resolve the massive backlog of Medicare appeals tied up in the administrative law process. Two of the four key takeaways include:

1. The D.C. Circuit rejected the District Court’s merger of the jurisdictional inquiry into the equitable inquiry because the two inquiries have different standards of review. It then found that the District Court does have jurisdiction to review the Mandamus action, finding that the Social Security Act “imposes a clear duty on the Secretary to comply with the statutory deadlines, that the statute gives the Association a corresponding right to demand that compliance, and that escalation – the only proposed alternative remedy – is inadequate [given the massive backlog].”

2. The D.C. Circuit remanded the case back to the District Court to consider whether “compelling equitable grounds” now exist to issue a Writ of Mandamus, stating that, while the District Court conducted just such an analysis in 2014, the “record on appeal makes clear that the situation has worsened”.

To view the full alert, including the other two key takeaways, click here.