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SAMARITAN HEALTH CTR. v. HECKLER

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


July 12, 1985

Samaritan Health Center, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Margaret M. Heckler, Defendant

Louis F. Oberdorfer, United States District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: OBERDORFER

MEMORANDUM

Louis F. Oberdorfer, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 By agreement of the parties, this matter has been submitted on the merits. For reasons set forth in a Memorandum to be filed, an accompanying order will declare that the Court has jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' complaint, that the plaintiff hospitals have standing to sue, and that the Secretary also has a clear, nondiscretionary duty to develop and publish a definition of "disproportionate share" hospitals* and to identify those hospitals to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate. Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-369, § 2315(h), 98 Stat. 494, 1080. Accordingly, the Secretary will be required to develop a proposed plan and timetable for defining and identifying disproportionate share hospitals. The order will grant plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint, and will also dismiss plaintiffs Samaritan Medical Executive Committee and Semi-Quois Neighborhood Improvement and Employment Project, Inc., because they are not providers and therefore are not within the zone of interests that the statutes in question were designed to protect.

 There remains a question as to whether the Secretary has a duty, enforceable by mandamus, to provide for exceptions and adjustments. In particular, the Conference Report on the Deficit Reduction Act states that Congress wanted the Secretary to define disproportionate share hospitals "so that a better determination can be made under existing law as to whether payment exceptions or adjustments are appropriate." H.R. Rep. 98-861, 98th Cong., 2d Sess. 1356 (1984) (emphasis added). The Court does not have the benefit of briefs by the parties addressed to the question of what effect this "subsequent" legislative history should have on the interpretation of the disproportionate share provision. In addition, the House Report on the disproportionate share statute itself suggests that if the Secretary determines that exceptions and adjustments are appropriate, the Secretary would be "authorized" to provide for exceptions and adjustments. H.R. Rep. No. 25, 98th Cong., 1st Sess. 142 (1983). In contrast, the Senate Report states that the Secretary would be "required" to provide exceptions or adjustments. The parties have not fully briefed the Court about how these conflicting statements should be weighed. The parties will therefore be required to file simultaneous supplemental memoranda, with attention to Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit precedent, as to the effect of the legislative history on the Secretary's duty to provide exceptions and adjustments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1395ww(d)(5)(C)(i).

 ORDER

 For the reasons set forth in an accompanying Memorandum, it is this 12th day of July, 1985, hereby

 ORDERED: that plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend the complaint be, and is hereby, GRANTED; and it is further

 ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECLARED: that the Court has jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' complaint and the plaintiff hospitals have standing to sue; and it is further

 ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED: that plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction be, and is hereby, DISMISSED, as moot; and it is further

 ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED: that defendant's motion to dismiss be, and is hereby, GRANTED as to plaintiffs Semis-Quois Neighborhood Improvement and Employment Project, Inc. and Samaritan Medical Executive Committee; and it is further

 ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED: that defendant's motion to dismiss be, and is hereby, DENIED as to the remaining plaintiffs; and it is further

 ADJUDGED and DECLARED: that the Secretary has a clear, nondiscretionary duty to develop and publish a definition of disproportionate share hospitals and to identify those hospitals to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate, as required by section 2315(h) of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-369, 98 Stat. 494, 1080; and it is further

 ORDERED: that the defendant shall, on or before July 26, 1985 serve and file (with a courtesy copy to Chambers) a proposed plan and timetable for publishing a definition of disproportionate share hospitals, and for identifying the hospitals which meet that definition to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate; and it is further

 ORDERED: that the plaintiffs shall, on or before August 1, 1985 serve and file (with a courtesy copy to Chambers) any response to the defendants' proposed plan and timetable; and it is further

 ORDERED: that the parties shall file, on or before July 25, 1985, simultaneous supplemental memoranda addressing the effect of the legislative history and "subsequent" legislative history of the disproportionate share provision on the Secretary's duty to provide exceptions and adjustments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1395ww(d)(5)(C)(i).

19850712

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