Pinnacle Health Hospitals v. Sebelius, No. 10-5277 (D.C. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 1995, two non-profit hospitals consolidated to form Pinnacle. Pinnacle subsequently submitted a Medicare reimbursement claim for the losses the hospitals had incurred through the sale of their depreciable assets in the consolidation. The Administrator denied Pinnacle's claim, and that order became the final decision of the Secretary. On Pinnacle's Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., challenge, the district court upheld the Secretary's decision in full. Because the Secretary's interpretation of the relevant Medicare regulations was not plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation, the court concluded that the Secretary reasonably applied the bona fide sale requirement to a reimbursement request from a participant in a "statutory merger." The court also held that the Secretary's finding that the bona fide sale requirement applied to consolidations involving non-profit Medicare providers, like Pinnacle, was not plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. Finally, substantial evidence supported the Secretary's finding that Pinnacle did not satisfy the bona fide sale requirement. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.