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Health Care

Hospitals Must Wait For Day In Court Over Undocumented Patient Care

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A state appeals court has rescheduled arguments for June 21 in a dispute about Medicaid payments to hospitals that provide emergency care to undocumented immigrants.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal had been slated to hear arguments Tuesday but approved a two-week delay, according to an online docket.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and numerous hospitals across the southern part of the state and the Tampa Bay area have been locked in a long-running battle about payments for care provided to undocumented immigrants.

Hospitals are required to treat patients who show up for emergency care, but the legal dispute has focused on the extent of care for undocumented immigrants that should be covered through the Medicaid program.

Administrative Law Judge John D.C. Newton last year rejected arguments by the hospitals that the Agency for Health Care Administration had overstepped its authority in approving rules that address the duration of payments. That prompted the hospitals to appeal.