United States Second Circuit

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Barrows v. Burwell, 13‐4179

In this putative class action, plaintiffs assert on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries who were placed into "observation status" by their hospitals instead of being admitted as "inpatients" that the Secretary of Health and Human Services violated the Medicare Act and the federal Due Process Clause by failing to provide expedited notice of their hospitals' decisions to place them into "observation status," or an expedited opportunity to challenge these decisions. Placement into "observations status" allegedly caused these beneficiaries to pay thousands of dollars more for their medical care than if they had been formally admitted as "inpatients." Judgment of dismissal is: 1) affirmed as to the dismissal of plaintiffs' Medicare Act claims, where plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the adequacy of the notices they received and where nothing in the statute entitles plaintiffs to expedited notice or an expedited hearing to challenge placement; and 2) vacated as to the dismissal of plaintiffs' Due Process claims, where plaintiffs asserted a property interest in being treated as "inpatients," and where the district court's conclusion that placement is a "complex medical judgment" left to the doctor's discretion is an impermissible finding of fact that is inconsistent with the complaint's allegations.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 01/22/2015
  • Published 01/22/2015


  • Cabranes


  • United States Second Circuit


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