Marymount Hosp., Inc. v. Shalala

Decision Date29 March 1994
Docket NumberNo. 92-5242,92-5242
Citation19 F.3d 658
Parties, 62 USLW 2655, 44 Soc.Sec.Rep.Ser. 65, Medicare & Medicaid Guide P 42,172 MARYMOUNT HOSPITAL, INC., Appellant, v. Donna E. SHALALA, Secretary, HHS.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit

Scott W. Taebel, Columbus, OH, argued the cause, and filed the briefs, for appellant.

Lyn S. Crozier, Atty., U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services ("HHS"), Washington, DC, argued the cause, for appellee. With her on the brief, was J. Ramsey Johnson, U.S. Atty., Washington, DC, at the time the brief was filed. Thomas W. Coons, Atty., HHS, and Stuart Gerson and John D. Bates, Asst. U.S. Attys., Washington, DC, entered appearances.

Before BUCKLEY and RANDOLPH, Circuit Judges, and LEVIN H. CAMPBELL, * Senior Circuit Judge for the First Circuit.

Opinion for the court filed by Senior Circuit Judge LEVIN H. CAMPBELL.

LEVIN H. CAMPBELL, Senior Circuit Judge:

Plaintiff-appellant Marymount Hospital Inc. ("Marymount") brought this action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1395oo(f) (West 1992), which provides for judicial review of final administrative decisions concerning disputed claims for Medicare reimbursement. Marymount challenged the amounts it received in 1984 and 1985 as reimbursement for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries, claiming that the reimbursement amounts were erroneously adjusted downward. Both Marymount and defendant Secretary of Health and Human Services ("the Secretary" or "HHS") filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court denied Marymount's motion and allowed that of the Secretary. See Marymount Hosp., Inc. v. Sullivan, 791 F.Supp. 878 (D.D.C.1992). Marymount appealed, and we affirm.


Marymount is a non-profit, 279-bed acute care facility located in Garfield Heights, Ohio. Marymount is affiliated with the Catholic Church and is sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Congregation of St. Francis ("the Congregation"). Historically, selected members of the Congregation served as the corporate members of Marymount, responsible for appointing and removing the hospital's board of trustees. If Marymount were ever to be dissolved as a corporation, its assets would have reverted to the Congregation.

In 1983, Marymount's board of trustees and the Congregation approved a strategic plan calling for a reorganization. A new corporate entity, Marymount Health Care Systems ("MHCS"), was established. As Marymount's sole corporate member, MHCS became Marymount's parent corporation. Certain Sisters of the Congregation served as the corporate members of MHCS. MHCS determined overall planning and strategy for Marymount and had the power to appoint and remove Marymount's board of directors and to approve long-term loans and the alienation of its property. MHCS also became the parent corporation of a non-profit entity created to provide home nursing services, and of a for-profit organization operating an office building and pharmacy on Marymount's grounds. Following the reorganization, if Marymount were to be dissolved as a corporation, its assets would revert to MHCS rather than to the Congregation.

Marymount made two contributions from its operating funds to MHCS for start-up capital: $3 million in 1983 and $1 million in 1984 ("the contributed funds"). MHCS placed a portion of these funds in interest-bearing accounts, and during 1984 and 1985 earned a total of over $680,000 in investment income on the contributed funds. Meanwhile, during the same two years, Marymount incurred almost $3 million in interest expense, servicing debt arising from the issue of revenue bonds in 1979.

Marymount is a participating provider of medical services in the Medicare program, 42 U.S.C.A. Secs. 1395-1395ccc (West 1992 & Supp.1993), which provides health insurance for the aged and disabled. The Medicare program reimburses hospitals and other medical providers participating in the program for the "reasonable cost" of medical services provided to eligible beneficiaries. 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1395f(b)(1). "Reasonable cost" means "the cost actually incurred, excluding therefrom any part of incurred cost found to be unnecessary in the efficient delivery of needed health services, and shall be determined in accordance with regulations [promulgated by the Secretary of HHS]." 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1395x(v)(1)(A).

The regulations promulgated by the Secretary take into account both "direct and indirect costs." 42 C.F.R. Sec. 413.9 (1992). 1 Providers are, therefore, reimbursed for interest expense on "both current and capital indebtedness" if the expense is "necessary and proper." 42 C.F.R. Sec. 413.153(a)(1). For interest to be "necessary," it must result from a loan that satisfies a "financial need" of the provider related to patient care. 42 C.F.R. Sec. 413.153(b)(2)(i)-(ii). Moreover, "[l]oans that result in excess funds or investments would not be considered necessary." 42 C.F.R. Sec. 413.153(b)(2)(i). Thus, for purposes of figuring the provider's proper medicare reimbursement, interest expense must be offset, or "[r]educed," by interest income earned on investments. 42 C.F.R. Sec. 413.153(b)(2)(iii). The regulations thereby limit a provider's reimbursement for interest expense to the net cost of borrowing. See Monongahela Valley Hosp., Inc. v. Sullivan, 945 F.2d 576, 580-82, 591 (3d Cir.1991) (describing statutory and regulatory framework).

Pursuant to these regulations, Marymount filed annual cost reports in both 1984 and 1985, listing its costs of delivering medical services to Medicare beneficiaries. In each year's report, it listed as allowable interest expense its debt service on the 1979 bond issue. These reports were filed with a fiscal intermediary for HHS, in this case Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association/Community Mutual Insurance Company ("Blue Cross"), which processed Marymount's reimbursement claims.

For both 1984 and 1985, Blue Cross determined that the approximately $680,000 of investment income earned in those years by MHCS on the contributed funds should be counted against the interest expense claimed by Marymount. Consequently, Blue Cross offset Marymount's reimbursable costs, resulting in a reduction in Marymount's actual reimbursement of approximately $290,000 over two years.

Marymount appealed from these downward adjustments to the appropriate administrative body, the Provider Reimbursement Board ("the Board"). The Board affirmed the decisions made by Blue Cross. Marymount then instituted this action in the district court. The district court upheld the decision of the Board.


Primarily at issue is the Board's--and ultimately, the Secretary's--application of the reimbursement regulations so as to impute to Marymount the investment income earned by assets Marymount had turned over to its parent corporation, MHCS. We review the Board's decision without deference to the district court's determination. Biloxi Regional Medical Center v. Bowen, 835 F.2d 345, 349 (D.C.Cir.1987).

The Board's decision, in contrast, is entitled to considerable deference from a reviewing court. The Medicare Act, 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1395oo(f)(1), directs courts to review the Board's decision under the deferential standard of the Administrative Procedure Act ("the APA"). 5 U.S.C.A. Secs. 701-706 (West 1977 & Supp.1993). See St. Elizabeth Community Hosp. v. Heckler, 745 F.2d 587, 591 (9th Cir.1984). Under the APA, a reviewing court may set aside the Board's decision if it is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law," or unsupported by substantial evidence in the administrative record. 5 U.S.C.A. Sec. 706(2)(A), (E); Sentara-Hampton Gen. Hosp. v. Sullivan, 980 F.2d 749, 755 (D.C.Cir.1992).

In making these determinations, "[d]eference is accorded the Secretary's interpretation of [her] own regulations where [she] has expertise in the substantive area involved and where the regulations were promulgated pursuant to congressional authorization." St. Elizabeth's, 745 F.2d at 592. Also, when the regulations "form[ ] part of a complex statutory scheme which the agency is charged with administering, the arguments for deference to administrative expertise are at their strongest." Psychiatric Inst. of Washington, D.C., Inc. v. Schweiker, 669 F.2d 812, 813-14 (D.C.Cir.1981). Thus, we must uphold HHS's interpretation of its own regulations so long as the interpretation "is within the range of reasonable meanings that the words of the regulation admit." Id. at 814. We are " 'not to substitute [our] judgment for that of [HHS].' " Sentara-Hampton, 980 F.2d at 755, quoting Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass'n v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43, 103 S.Ct. 2856, 2866, 77 L.Ed.2d 443 (1983).

In addition, to the extent HHS has based its decision on the language of the Medicare Act itself, we owe deference under Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 467 U.S. 837, 843-45, 104 S.Ct. 2778, 2781-83, 81 L.Ed.2d 694 (1984). When an agency has interpreted a statute it administers and when "Congress has not directly addressed the precise question at issue," a court does not "impose" its own construction. Id. at 843-44, 104 S.Ct. at 2781-83. Rather, when the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the question "is whether the agency's answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute." Id.

With these principles in mind, we turn to the Board's ruling.


Marymount argues that the applicable regulations do not allow the investment income of one corporation, MHCS, to offset the otherwise allowable interest expense of a separate corporation, Marymount. Marymount asserts that the text of the Secretary's regulation, 42 C.F.R. Sec. 413.153(b)(2)(iii) ("the interest offset rule"), which requires interest expense to be offset by investment...

To continue reading

Request your trial
52 cases
  • Mountain States Health Alliance v. Burwell
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • September 10, 2015
    ...APA Review"The Board's decision ... is entitled to considerable deference from a reviewing court." Marymount Hosp. v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 658, 661 (D.C.Cir.1994). The Medicare Act incorporates APA standards of review, see 42 U.S.C. § 1395oo(f)(1), and thus the Board's decision may be set aside......
  • Gentiva Health Servs., Inc. v. Cochran
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • March 3, 2021
    ...626 (1943) —the Board's analysis. The Board's decision, moreover, "is entitled to considerable deference." Marymount Hosp., Inc. v. Shalala , 19 F.3d 658, 661 (D.C. Cir. 1994). To the extent the decision is based "on the language of the Medicare Act itself, [the Court] owe[s] [the Board] de......
  • DRG Funding Corp. v. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • February 20, 1996
    ...(D.C.Cir.1983). Because the corporation failed to raise this argument below, we do not consider it now. See Marymount Hosp., Inc. v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 658, 663 (D.C.Cir.1994).3 In Hines, this court used mandamus to compel the government to pay a judgment when "nothing" else remained to be do......
  • Genesis Health Ventures, Inc. v. Sebelius
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • July 22, 2011
    ...Court must defer to the Secretary's interpretation whenever it is “a permissible construction of the statute.” Marymount Hosp., Inc. v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 658, 661 (D.C.Cir.1994) (citing Chevron, USA, Inc. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 843–44, 104 S.Ct. 2778); HCA Health S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT