The Department of Health and Human Services vs. Attorneys – Can and Will the Federal Courts Tame an Agency Run Amuck? ABSTRACT Medicare has been a system destined for financial trouble arguably since its creation in 1965. For years, Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) have passed legislation, regulations, and implemented procedures to try to save it. But, when DHHS decided to protect Medicare by suing attorneys, it took its role too far and placed attorneys in an ethical and procedural maelstrom. In Haro v. Sebelius, the United States District Court of Arizona recently addressed DHHS’s collection activities and provided limited relief to attorneys, but DHHS appealed this decision that currently awaits oral argument before and a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This article discusses the history of Medicare’s secondary payer status under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (“MSP”), DHHS’s use of the MSP to sue attorneys, the problematic consequences of DHHS lawsuits, and provides a predictive and practical discussion of what to expect in the future with respect to DHHS’s hopefully ill-fated crusade against attorneys.
- Department of Health and Human Services,
- Medicare Secondary Payer Act
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