American Hospital Ass'n v. Burwell, No. 15-5015 (D.C. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs seek a writ of mandamus compelling the Secretary to act within Congress's prescribed specific time frames, 42 U.S.C. 1395ff, for the Secretary to reach decisions on various stages of administrative appeals of Medicare reimbursement claim denials. The district court concluded that mandamus relief was unwarranted. The court concluded that the statute imposes a clear duty on the Secretary to comply with the statutory deadlines, that the statute gives the Association a corresponding right to demand that compliance, and that escalation—the only proposed alternative remedy—is inadequate in the circumstances of this case. Because the Association has demonstrated that the threshold requirements for mandamus jurisdiction are met, and because the Secretary’s other jurisdictional arguments fail, the court reversed the district court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction. On remand, the district court should determine whether “compelling equitable grounds” now exist to issue a writ of mandamus.