Court Does Not Have Jurisdiction Over Medicaid Applicant’s Appeal Because Notice of Appeal Was Not Timely

An Alabama appeals court holds that a trial court does not have jurisdiction over a Medicaid applicant’s appeal of her denial because she did not timely file notice of appeal with the agency. Ex parte Alabama Medicaid Agency (Ala. Civ. App., No. 2190092, Jan. 10, 2020).

Carol Armstrong applied for Medicaid benefits. On October 30,2018, the Medicaid agency awarded Ms. Armstrong benefits subject to a penalty period. Ms. Armstrong requested a hearing on March 14, 2019, more than 60 days after the penalty period notice. On May 21, 2019, the agency denied Ms. Armstrong’s request for a hearing because it was untimely.

Ms. Armstrong filed a complaint in the trial court, seeking to appeal the denial of her request for a fair hearing. The agency argued that Ms. Armstrong did not follow procedure in appealing the fair hearing decision, but the trial court denied the agency’s motion to dismiss. The agency filed a writ of mandamus, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this case because Ms. Armstrong did not file a notice of appeal with the agency within 30 days after receiving notice that the agency denied her fair hearing request.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, grants the writ of mandamus and directs the trial court to grant the agency’s motion to dismiss. The court notes that while Ms. Armstrong did not serve the agency with a notice to appeal, “serving an administrative agency with a petition or complaint for judicial review within 30 days of receipt of the notice of a final decision of the agency could serve as a substitute for a notice of appeal.” However, the court finds that Ms. Armstrong served her complaint seeking judicial review 63 days after the notification of the agency's decision was received.

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