SCOTUS Ruling Signals Welcome Change for Medicare Providers

In its ruling Monday in Azar v. Allina Health Services, the U.S. Supreme Court provided helpful clarification of the rules for health care providers who work with Medicare patients, according to health care attorney Bill Hopkins.

“For decades, health care providers have periodically found themselves subject to agencies’ regulatory changes that were developed without the normal notice and comment aspect of rulemaking,” said Mr. Hopkins of the Austin office of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP. “This self-serving position allowed agencies the ability to give these ‘interpretive guidelines’ the impact of rule of law, while denying providers an opportunity to help shape the changes. This ruling holds that notice-and-comment rulemaking is not optional when agencies are promulgating substantive changes to the current regulations that have widespread effect on providers.

“This decision will hopefully give providers more regulatory certainty and compel agencies to more clearly choose between what must be classified as ‘substantive’ change versus merely ‘interpretive’ guidelines. This will be a welcome change.”

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