It was not the court decision that UroPath, LLC hoped to hear. Yesterday, United States District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer dismissed a case that Uropath, LLC, and affiliated laboratories and physician groups, had filed against federal Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt. Collyer ruled Uropath had no standing to challenge HHS’ Final Order on January 3, 2008.
Collyer also vacated a preliminary injunction she had issued in March. In the preliminary injunction, Collyer prevented the federal Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the Final Order for 30 days. But because Collyer decided that Uropath and its fellow plaintiffs had no standing, the injunction was moot. Also, she ruled that the motion for reconsideration filed by Leavitt, the defendant in the case, was denied, as that request was also moot.
For all practical purposes, Collyer threw this case out of her court, ruling that the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge Medicare on its Final Order. In the Final Order, Collyer noted that the plaintiffs can pursue any grievances through CMS’ administrative procedures.
Plaintiff Uropath and its affiliated labs and physician groups sued Leavitt in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging HHS’s final rule, issued January 3, 2008 (known as the “Final Order”), and its final rule, issued November 27, 2007 (known as the “Anti-Markup Rule”). Uropath and its affiliated labs and physician groups had said the Final Order and the Anti-Markup Rule would essentially put them out of business.
“Because Plaintiffs do not have standing to challenge the Final Order issued by HHS in January 2008, the claims challenging the Final Order must be dismissed,” Collyer wrote in a 21-page decision. “In addition, Plaintiffs Uropath and [Uropath’s Director of Clinical Operations Rebecca] Page do not participate in Medicare and have no standing to challenge the Anti-Markup Rule. Because Plaintiff Physician Groups… must channel their objections to the Anti-Markup Rule issued by HHS in November 2007 through the administrative process before coming to court, the claims challenging the Anti-Markup Rule must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.”
UroPath and its co-plaintiffs must now decide their next strategy in how to oppose the efforts of CMS to impose anti-markup rules that involve anatomic pathology services provided by anatomic pathology condo (pod) laboratories. The Dark Report will have a full analysis of this case and its implications for the pathology profession in its next issue on May 27, 2008.