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CENTENNIAL SPRING HEALTH CARE CENTER ET AL. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/25/88)

decided: April 25, 1988.

CENTENNIAL SPRING HEALTH CARE CENTER ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare, in the case of Appeal Of: Centennial Spring Health Care Center, File No. 25-84-020; North Penn Convalescent Center, File No. 25-85-005; Twinbrook Centers, Inc., File No. 25-85-006 and Medicenter of America, File No. 25-85-007, dated October 9, 1986.

COUNSEL

Suzanne Rauer, with her, Charles O. Barto, Jr., Charles O. Barto, Jr. and Associates, for petitioners.

Bruce G. Baron, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail and Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Macphail

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 452]

Centennial Spring Health Care Center, North Penn Convalescent Center, Twinbrook Centers, Incorporated, and Medicenter of America (Petitioners) petition for review of a final order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which denied their request for reconsideration of an order of the Office of Hearings and Appeals adopting a Hearing Officer's recommendation to deny the Petitioners' appeal from a decision of DPW's Claims Review, Bureau of Medical Assistance Operations (BMAO).

Petitioners are providers of long-term nursing care in the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid). Prior to 1984, residents*fn1 at the Petitioners' facilities

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 453]

    received notification of reclassifications of their levels of care from skilled care to intermediate care via notices from DPW's Inspection of Care Team (ICT).*fn2 The residents here concerned appealed the ICT reclassifications and subsequently lost their appeals. During the pendency of the appeals, however, Petitioners were required to provide the residents with the same level of care that they were receiving prior to the ICT reclassification. 55 Pa. Code § 1181.83(d).

Between July and August, 1984, Petitioners were notified by DPW that, pursuant to 55 Pa. Code § 1181.54(g), they were to return the money paid to them in excess of the amount authorized for intermediate care*fn3 during the pendency of the recipients' appeals. Accordingly, the Petitioners returned to DPW the amounts claimed by DPW as "overpayments." Between July and September, 1984, Petitioners timely appealed, and those appeals were consolidated for a June 24, 1985 hearing. In the notice of the hearing, Petitioners were informed that they were required to complete all discovery and identify all witnesses by June 14, 1985. On June 19, 1985, however, Petitioners requested the issuance of subpoenas duces tecum, which subpoenas were subsequently issued to David S. Feinberg, Michael A. Berchock, and Richard H. Lee.*fn4 DPW filed a motion to quash the subpoenas, and that motion was denied by the Hearing Officer. Subsequently, however, the Executive

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 454]

Deputy Secretary of DPW vacated the subpoenas issued to Messrs. Berchock and Lee. Accordingly, the only enforceable subpoena was issued to Mr. Feinberg.

On June 24, 1985, an administrative hearing was held and, on April 11, 1986, a Recommendation was made that the Petitioners' appeals be denied.*fn5 The Recommendation was adopted in full by the Director of DPW's Office of Hearings and Appeals. Thereafter, the Petitioners applied for reconsideration, and a preliminary order was entered granting such. The Deputy Executive Director subsequently entered a final order which, in effect, reaffirmed the ...


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