Articles Posted in Public Benefits

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This matter stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the State of Mississippi against the defendant pharmacies. The State alleged deceptive trade practices and fraudulent reporting of inflated “usual and customary” prices in the defendant’s reimbursement requests to the Mississippi Department of Medicaid. The State argued that Walgreens, CVS, and Fred’s pharmacies purposefully misrepresented these prices to obtain higher prescription drug reimbursements from the State. Finding that the circuit court was better equipped to preside over this action, the DeSoto County Chancery Court transferred the matter to the DeSoto County Circuit Court in response to the defendants’ request. Aggrieved, the State timely filed an interlocutory appeal disputing the chancellor’s decision to transfer the case. After a thorough review of the parties’ positions, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that though the chancery court properly could have retained the action, the chancellor correctly used his discretion to transfer the case, allowing the issues to proceed in front of a circuit-court jury. As a result, the Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s decision. View "Mississippi v. Walgreen Co." on Justia Law

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Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and Singing River Health System (“Hospitals”) sought judicial review of a June 24, 2016 administrative decision which found the Division of Medicaid’s (“DOM’s”) 2014 Fiscal Year Methodology “correctly interprets statutes and regulations and is neither arbitrary or capricious.” The chancellor affirmed the decision of DOM. Finding no evidence in the record before it that DOM failed to comply with Sections 43-13-117 and 43-13-145 in allocating and distributing supplemental payments to Mississippi hospitals, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Memorial Hospital at Gulfport v. Dzielak" on Justia Law

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Twelve Medicaid-participating hospitals (“Hospitals”) challenged the Department of Medicaid’s (“DOM’s”) recalculation of their Medicaid outpatient rates for fiscal year 2001. The chancery court affirmed the opinion of the DOM, finding that “DOM interpreted its own regulation – the State Plan, which is its contract with the federal government and which it is required to follow to receive federal funds to require Medicaid to calculate the cost to charge ratio by using Medicare Methodology, which at that time was using a blended rate.” The Mississippi Supreme Court found the plain language of Attachment 4.19-B of the State Plan provided a cost-to-charge-ratio formula for calculating outpatient rates. Laboratory and radiology charges were to be excluded from this formula, because they were reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis. DOM’s inclusion of radiology and laboratory services in the charges and substitution of costs with Medicare blended payment amounts was a clear violation of the State Plan. Therefore, the Court reversed the judgments of DOM and the chancery court. Consistent with its opinion, the Court remanded and ordered the Executive Director of DOM to recalculate the Hospitals’ cost-to-charge ratio using the Hospital’s submitted costs in their cost reports, excluding laboratory and radiology services, and reimbursing the Hospitals the appropriate amounts determined by using the State Plan. View "Crossgates River Oaks Hospital v. Mississippi Division of Medicaid" on Justia Law

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In 2005, the State of Mississippi filed suit against more than eighty prescription drug manufacturers alleging, among other things, that each committed common-law fraud and violations of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. The allegations primarily focused on whether the prescription-drug manufacturers inflated reported prices, which caused the Mississippi Division of Medicaid to reimburse pharmacies at inflated rates. The cases were eventually severed; this appeal involved only Watson Laboratories, Inc., Watson Pharma Inc., and Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (collectively “Watson”). Following a bench trial, the Chancery Court concluded that Watson had committed common-law fraud and had violated the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. As a result, the chancery court awarded the State a total of $30,262,052 in civil penalties, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. The chancery court also awarded post-judgment interest of three percent on the compensatory and punitive damages. Watson appealed, challenging the chancery court’s decision; the State also filed a cross-appeals relating to damages. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the chancery court’s judgment in favor of Mississippi Medicaid. Further, the Court affirmed the ruling on the State’s cross-appeal. View "Watson Laboratories, Inc. v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Charlotte Perkins appealed a Circuit Court’s decision to dismiss her appeal claiming the Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS) wrongly deprived her of receiving food stamps and that such deprivation was the result of a DHS hearing in which Perkins was deprived of procedural safeguards. The appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The circuit court found no statutory authority created a right of appeal to the circuit court from an administrative decision by DHS regarding food-stamp qualification(s) or disqualification(s). The Supreme Court found that the circuit court was correct in dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction. Mississippi caselaw provides, however, that where there is no statutory scheme for appeal from an agency decision and the injured party does not have a full, plain, complete and adequate remedy at law, the chancery court has jurisdiction for judicial review of the agency decision. Accordingly, the case was reversed and remanded with instructions to the circuit court to transfer the case to the Monroe County Chancery Court. View "Perkins v. Mississippi Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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The Jackson County Board of Supervisors terminated June Seaman, and she applied to the Mississippi Employment Security Commission (MESC) for unemployment benefits. A claims examiner, an administrative-law judge, and the Board of Review all determined that Seaman was entitled to unemployment benefits because Jackson County had failed to prove by clear and convincing, substantial evidence that Seaman had been terminated for misconduct. The circuit court affirmed the agency’s decision, but the Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the employer had proven misconduct by substantial evidence. After its review, the Supreme Court concluded the Court of Appeals improperly reweighed the evidence before the MESC. Therefore, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated and affirmed the circuit court's judgment. View "Jackson County Board of Supervisors v. Mississippi Employment Security Commission" on Justia Law

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This appeal by Dorothy Knight arose from a 2011 circuit court order. In it, the circuit court affirmed an administrative decision by the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) denying disability benefits. Upon review, a majority of the Supreme Court concluded that Knight met her burden, and that PERS' decision to deny her claim was not supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court reversed the appellate and circuit courts' rulings and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Knight v. Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi" on Justia Law