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High court remands Medicaid case to lower court

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The Indiana Supreme Court ordered a Marion Superior Court to let Medicaid recipients involved in a decades-long lawsuit present evidence to demonstrate the transportation they may be entitled to by law and if they have been or will be denied services because of lower pay rates to Medicaid transportation providers.

The high court granted transfer Monday and released a 7-page per curiam opinion in Anne W. Murphy, et al. v. Jannis Fisher, et al., No. 49S02-1008-CV-463, a suit first filed in 1992 by Medicaid recipients and transportation service providers when federal officials found the state’s Medicaid transportation costs were high, leading the state to implement lower pay rates to those that provide Medicaid transportation services.

The plaintiffs sued under the federal Medicaid statute, 42 U.S.C. Section 1396a(a)(30)(A), arguing the reimbursement rates were so low they violated the law and the recipients’ access to medical care was reduced in violation of the statute.

The trial court ordered the state to increase the reimbursement rate, but ordered that the higher rate be applied prospectively; the trial court didn’t enter any specific relief for the recipients except that the state must pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and directed judgment for the state, finding neither plaintiff group had a private right of action to challenge the reimbursement rates.

The Supreme Court summarily affirmed the lower appellate court’s ruling that the transportation providers do not have a private right to sue the state based on Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273 (2002). The justices also agreed that the Medicaid recipients do have a right to sue. The state had conceded in the trial court that the recipients had a private right of action and the state invited any court error with respect to the right of recipients to sue for relief in this case, wrote the justices.

“We acknowledge the State’s argument that the rights of Medicaid recipients may have been in a state of flux at the time the State filed its trial court brief in 2004, but the issue appears to have been in play by that time, and federal circuit courts of appeal began issuing decisions applying Gonzaga before the State filed its opening appellate brief. Accordingly, the State will be held to its concession that Recipients have a private right of action in this case,” the justices wrote.

The high court ordered the trial court to allow the recipients to present evidence establishing the transportation to which they may be entitled under Section 30(A), that they have been or will be denied the services to which they are entitled, and what relief they are due. Any relief will be prospective only.

Justice Frank Sullivan did not participate in the ruling.
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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