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ST. CHRISTOPHER'S HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/27/77)

decided: April 27, 1977.

ST. CHRISTOPHER'S HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of In Re: St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, dated June 30, 1975.

COUNSEL

Winston W. Walp, II, with him, of counsel, Townsend, Elliott & Munson, for appellant.

Michael P. McGinley, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 89]

This is an appeal by St. Christopher's Hospital for Children (the Hospital) from an adjudication of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which denied the Hospital compensation for custodial care of T.J., an infant, for the period December 21, 1972 to January 4, 1973. We reverse.

The facts and the applicable law are undisputed. On December 6, 1972, T.J., a three-month old child and an eligible medical assistance patient, was admitted to the Hospital after a Philadelphia DPW social worker had found, upon visiting the child's home, that she had been vomiting during the preceding six or seven weeks and that she was unable to retain fluids. On December 8 the Hospital filed a report of suspected child abuse with Philadelphia DPW, as required by law.*fn1 Philadelphia DPW then petitioned the Family Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia for custody of the infant pursuant to Section 4 of the Juvenile Court Law, Act of June 2, 1933, P.L. 1433, as amended, 11 P.S. § 246.*fn2 At a hearing held

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 90]

January 2, the court determined that T.J. was a deprived child and ordered that she be placed in a foster home. The child responded well to treatment, and by December 20 she was ready for a foster home when one was available. Actual placement was accomplished on January 4.

DPW ruled that since the child was ready for transfer to a foster home on December 20, DPW had no obligation to reimburse the Hospital for custodial care from December 21 to January 4 because she was not then in need of inpatient medical care, and DPW regulations*fn3 require that non-medical care given a patient awaiting transfer to a lesser care facility be considered a misutilization of funds.

Department of Public Welfare v. Frankford Hospital, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 484, 364 A.2d 957 (1976), and Department of Public Welfare v. Temple University, 21 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 162, 343 A.2d 701 (1975), control this case. There, we reversed DPW's denial of reimbursement in instances where medical assistance patients remained at the respective

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 91]

    hospitals because no lesser care facilities were available, although their conditions had improved ...


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