Justia Public Benefits Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Montana Supreme Court
Estate of Scheidecker v. Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services
The Supreme Court reversed an order of the district court affirming an administrative law judge's proposed order that trust principal consisting of a jointly owned home constituted a countable asset for the purpose of the Medicaid eligibility of Marilyn Scheidecker, holding that there were no circumstances under which payment from the trust's corpus could be made for Marilyn's benefit.The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services denied Marilyn's application for Medicaid, concluding that Marilyn's one-half interest in the trust's principal was a countable resource placing her over Medicaid's resource limit. The ALJ upheld the denial. The district court affirmed the ALJ's ultimate conclusion that the trust was a countable asset pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1396p(d)(3), holding that circumstances existed by which payments form the trust's corpus could be made to or for Marilyn's benefit. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court was incorrect in its application of the federal statute. View "Estate of Scheidecker v. Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services" on Justia Law
Independence Medical Supply, Inc. v. Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part a district court order granting in part and denying in part judicial review of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) fair hearing proposed decision that DPHHS overpaid IMS under the Medicaid program and was entitled to reimbursement in the amount of $670,152 from Independence Medical Supply, Inc. (IMS). IMS appealed, and DPHHS cross appealed the district court’s order. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by affirming the hearing officer’s determination that physician affidavits introduced by IMS did not cure technical violations of the supply orders submitted to DPHHS; and (2) the district court erred in holding that a letter sent by DPHHS on January 8, 2014 commenced an action for recovery of the overpayment because DPHHS did not commence an action within the meaning of Mont. Code Ann. 27-2-102(1)(b) and Mont. R. Civ. P. 3. View "Independence Medical Supply, Inc. v. Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services" on Justia Law
McGee v. State Department of Public Health & Human Services
Dawn McGee, who was receiving public assistance in the form of SNAP benefits, and Helge Naber were an unmarried couple living together with their five collective children. When the Department of Health and Human Services learned that Naber was living with McGee it sent McGee a notice requesting income information for Naber. McGee did not send the requested information, and the Department terminated McGee’s benefits. The Board of Public Assistance and district court upheld the Department’s determination. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Department was required to terminate McGee’s SNAP benefits when the household, including Naber, refused to provide the income information that the Department requested. View "McGee v. State Department of Public Health & Human Services" on Justia Law
Micone v. Dep’t of Pub. Health & Human Servs.
In 2003, Joshua Micone applied for Medicaid benefits for himself and his family. In his applications, Joshua did not report his wife Jennifer's interest in a family limited partnership. The Department of Public Health and Human Services approved Joshua's application, and the Micone family received Medicaid benefits from 2003 to 2006. Subsequently, the Department notified Joshua that his household was ineligible for benefits paid over the past three years because of Jennifer's interest in the partnership and demanded repayment. Joshua contested the demand of benefits paid. The State Board of Public Assistance upheld a hearing officer's findings that Jennifer's interest in the partnership was a countable and available resource. The district court affirmed. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly concluded that that the hearing officer did not violate Mont. Code Ann. 2-4-623 when he did not issue a decision within ninety days after the case was deemed submitted; and (2) the district court correctly determined that substantial credible evidence supported the Department's finding that Jennifer's interest in the partnership was an available resource.
Estate of Donovan Donald v. Kalispell Reg’l Med. Ctr.
Donovan Donald (Don) was incapacitated in an accident and received several treatment in Kalispell Regional Medical Center (KRMC). Later, a dispute arose between Don's estate and KRMC over KRMC's acceptance or rejection of Medicaid's payments for Don's care. KRMC filed liens against the Estate. The Estate, in turn, sued KRMC and MASH, a company that had provided Medicaid application forms to the Estate, under several theories of liability. The district court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding the district court (1) did not err in granting summary judgment to KRMC and MASH; (2) correctly interpreted and applied the Montana Medicaid Act; (3) correctly awarded KRMC prejudgment interest but incorrectly included interest KRMC received from its interest-bearing account; and (4) did not abuse its discretion by awarding KRMC attorney fees and costs. Remanded with instructions to offset the prejudgment interest award by the amount of interest KRMC received from the interest-bearing account.
Posted in: Contracts, Injury Law, Montana Supreme Court, Public Benefits
Blanton et al v. The Dept. of Public Health and Human Services
Plaintiff, on behalf of a class of similarly situated plaintiffs who received Medicaid assistance and were subject to a Medicaid lien pursuant to 53-2-612, MCA, sued defendant alleging that defendant had collected a greater amount than it was entitled from plaintiffs' recoveries from other sources. The parties raised several issues on appeal. The court held that Ark. Dept. of Health & Human Servs. v. Ahlborn applied retroactively to all class members' claims and that defendant must raise affirmative defenses with respect to individual class members to avoid Ahlborn's effect. The court held that the applicable statute of limitations to be 27-2-231, MCA, which provided for a five-year limitations period. The court declined to disturb the district court's order requiring defendant to compile data on individual class members' claims. The court reversed the district court's determination as to interest assessed against defendant, and concluded that no interest could be assessed until two years after any judgment had been entered, under 2-9-317, MCA. The court concluded that the term "third party" in the Medicaid reimbursement statutes included all other sources of medical assistance available to Medicaid recipients, including private health or automobile insurance obtained by the Medicaid recipient. The court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the class on its proffered distinction between "first party" and "third party" sources. The court affirmed the district court's conclusion that plaintiffs' "made whole" claim was immaterial in light of Ahlborn.