Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of Divine Providence Hospital, Docket No. 23-81-232, dated March 8, 1982.
O. William Vanderlin, McNerney, Page, Vanderlin & Hall, for petitioner.
Bruce G. Baron, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Williams, Jr., Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 189]
Divine Providence Hospital appeals from an order of the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW), sustaining DPW's motion to dismiss the hospital's appeal from an audit report and settlement.
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 190]
The hospital provides nursing care services pursuant to the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Program.*fn1 At the close of each fiscal year, DPW conducts an audit of the hospital, and based on that audit, DPW reimburses the hospital for certain specified allowable costs.
On June 11, 1981, DPW sent the hospital a copy of the audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1980, and included a notice that the hospital must file any appeal within thirty days of the letter's date. On July 14, 1981, DPW sent a second letter to the hospital, modifying the audit findings; that letter also included a notice that the hospital must appeal within thirty days.
The hospital filed an appeal with DPW on September 3, 1981, and the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals adopted the recommendation of the hearing officer to sustain DPW's motion to dismiss the appeal as untimely filed. The hospital argues here that: (1) the hearing officer improperly relied on 55 Pa. Code § 275.4(h)(1), (2) DPW was estopped by its actions from asserting the thirty-day time limit, and (3) DPW waived the thirty-day period by delay in raising the issue.*fn2
Following our scope of review for DPW adjudications,*fn3 we must reject the hospital's contentions and affirm.
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 191]
In his adjudication, the hearing officer sustained DPW's motion to dismiss the appeal "in light of" 55 Pa. Code § 275.4(h)(1)*fn4 and did not reach the merits of ...