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Medicaid applications review policy doesn't violate federal law

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An administrative law judge’s refusal to consider evidence of conditions that aren’t disclosed on a Medicaid disability application doesn’t violate federal law and the Due Process Clause, a majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

The judges disagreed in Anne Walterman Murphy, et al. v. William Curtis, et al.  No. 49A04-0909-CV-503, about whether the trial court was correct in granting summary judgment for a class of Medicaid applicants who were denied benefits. The applicants had originally applied for benefits citing one condition and were denied. They then reapplied based on other conditions and at their hearing before an administrative law judge, tried to present evidence on the conditions in the denied applications.

Judges Paul Mathias and Cale Bradford reversed summary judgment in favor of the class and ordered summary judgment entered for the state. They didn’t find the Family and Social Services Administration’s interpretation of the applicable statutes and regulations to be unreasonable, violative of any of the cited statutes or regulations, or constitute denial of due process.

The majority noted that the de novo hearing by the ALJ provided for under Indiana Code Section 12-15-28-4 doesn’t allow for the applicant or county office to introduce additional evidence at the hearing that is unrelated to the conditions in the application being reviewed.

“Furthermore, simply because due process and the applicable regulations require a de novo hearing does not mean that the scope of the hearing must be expanded to include every possible condition that the applicant claims could result in benefits,” wrote Judge Mathias. “A de novo hearing does not require the consideration of materials unrelated to the issue appealed. Otherwise, the need for an initial application and review by the (Medicaid Medical Review Team) would be essentially superfluous.”

Judge Patricia Riley dissented because she believes the current policy used by the ALJ excluding any evidence not alleged in the original application, but that which could establish the applicant is entitled to benefits, violates the basic notions of due process and also an ALJ’s duty in inquire.

“…I conclude that the ALJ’s duty of inquiry is not suspended when the applicant fails to list a particular disability in his or her application or raises it for the first time during the administrative hearing; rather, an ALJ is obligated to investigate the disabling effects of each possible impairment suggested by the record and which may be relevant in order to reach an informative conclusion as to whether the applicant is eligible to receive assistance,” she wrote. “Today’s majority decision falls well short of this goal.”
 

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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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