HHS indicates it cannot eliminate Medicare appeals backlog by the end of 2020

In a status report filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia HHS indicated that “although the initiatives undertaken by HHS have significantly slowed the growth of the backlog, the significant annual reductions that this court has directed are not possible given current funding and legislative authorities.” The court directive, issued on December 5, 2016 by Judge James Boasberg, ordered HHS to incrementally reduce the backlog of 657,955 appeals pending before the agency’s Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) over the next four years. The order mandated a 30% reduction in the backlog by December 31, 2017, 60% reduction by December 31, 2018, 90% reduction by December 31, 2019 and 100% by December 31, 2020.

In the newly filed status report HHS indicates that as of March 5, 2017 there are 667,326 pending appeals at the OMHA. HHS projects the number of pending appeals to be 687,382 by the end of FY 2017 (September 30, 2017), 714,347 by the end of FY 2018 (September 30, 2018), 788,493 by the end of FY 2019 (September 30, 2019), 882,437 by the end of FY 2020 (September 30, 2020), and 1,009,768 by the end of FY 2021 (September 30, 2021).