John Balko & Associates operates Senior Healthcare Associates (SHA)and is located in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. The company was audited and received a demand letter for approximately $680,000 dollars. The case went through a number of appeals and eventually the Medicare Appeals Council (MAC) ruling was appealed for review by a Federal District Court.
This is a case filed April 30, 2012 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. (The PACER number is Case 2:12-cv-00572-AJS) The case went through several stages prior to being appealed. (See figure.)
Source: Memorandum Opinion re: Parties’ Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, files 12/28/2012, and Barraclough analysis.
A number of arguments were made that established clearly that the statistical work was faulty, and from a scientific point of view was completely invalid.
Arthur J. Schwab the United States District Judge wrote in his opinion “Balko is not entitled to the best possible statistical sample of claims that it submitted . . . Instead, Balko is only entitled to a statistically valid random sample.” (Memorandum Opinion, p. 23.)
Question: Is a “statistical valid random sample” one that is so poor that it lacks any scientific credibility?
What has happened in this case does not bode well for health care providers. Here, statistical work that is demonstrably faulty and inferior and definitely not scientifically valid has been signed off on by the Medicare Appeals Council (MAC), and by the Federal Court that reviewed the case.
This type of sloppy scientific work never would be accepted in any other type of case before a Federal Court in which scientific evidence is evaluated in conformity with Rule 702 “Testimony by Expert Witnesses” of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The question is why is this type of poor and inadequate scientific work OK for audits of health care providers but not OK anywhere else?
Barraclough NY LLC supplies experts for litigation support in Medicare and Medicaid appeals cases.
John Balko & Associates d/b/a Senior Healthcare Associates, Plaintiff, v. Kathleen Sebelius Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defendant. United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Case 2:12-cv-00572-AJS.
- Complaint (Filed 04/30/12)
- Answer to Complaint (Filed 08/20/2012)
- Brief in Support of Motion [for Summary Judgment] (Filed 11/15/2012)
- Brief in Opposition to Motion (Filed 12/04/12)
- Concise Statement of Material Facts (filed 11/16/12)
- Memorandum Opinion re: Parties’ Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment (Filed 12/28/2012)
- Judgment (Filed 04/08/14)
- Opinion of the Court (Filed 02/12/2014)