Another impact of the government shutdown on healthcare? Legal delays

Gavel on top of cash
Starting last month, federal attorneys have requested stays in across their collection of cases since appropriations for the Department of Justice lapsed. (alfexe/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

As the partial government shutdown stretches into its third week, it has had an impact on a growing number of health programs. It has also had an impact in another venue: the courtroom.

Starting last month, federal attorneys have requested stays across their collection of cases since appropriations for the Department of Justice lapsed.

That includes some battles involving healthcare organizations.


2019 Drug Pricing and Reimbursement Stakeholder Summit

Given federal and state pricing requirements arising, press releases from industry leading pharma companies, and the new Drug Transparency Act, it is important to stay ahead of news headlines and anticipated requirements in order to hit company profit targets, maintain value to patients and promote strong, multi-beneficial relationships with manufacturers, providers, payers, and all other stakeholders within the pricing landscape. This conference will provide a platform to encourage a dialogue among such stakeholders in the pricing and reimbursement space so that they can receive a current state of the union regarding regulatory changes while providing actionable insights in anticipation of the future.

RELATED: How the government shutdown affects health programs

For example:

  • A U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California granted a stay to U.S. attorneys in an ongoing false claims case brought by federal prosecutors against UnitedHealth Group for its Medicare Advantage billing practices. The judge cited the lapse in appropriations for the Justice Department.
  • On Dec. 26, a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois ordered a suspension of all civil litigation involving the Department of Justice or U.S. Attorney's Office lawyers for 14 days. That includes a whistleblower lawsuit against Molina Healthcare in which the managed care organization is accused of deceiving state and federal regulators by neglecting to provide mandatory nursing home care in violation of its contracts with the state of Illinois.
  • Department of Justice attorneys requested a stay in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the case brought by the Association for Community Health Plans against the Department of Treasury challenging the short-term, limited-duration insurance plans. They point out cross-motions for summary judgment are due on Jan. 11 and briefings on those motions are due Feb. 1. Judge Richard Leon agreed and stayed the case and its deadlines until the shutdown wraps up.

One case that has not been impacted is an ongoing bankruptcy case of Boca Raton-based Promise Health Group. In that case, Justice Department lawyers filed an emergency motion to authorize a stay of all proceeding in light of the shutdown. "Absent an appropriation, Department of Justice attorneys are prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis," they wrote.

However, Promise and its debtors filed a joint objection to the request and the judge agreed not to delay the case.

Suggested Articles

What are some of the biggest challenges for independent medical practices?

Researchers at two universities plan to develop an autonomous trauma care system that uses robotics and artificial intelligence to treat soldiers.

A change to the government’s voluntary bundled payment model for oncology is going to be bad news for many participants.