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Contin-U-Care Outreach Services, LLC v. Gee

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

May 31, 2019

CONTIN-U-CARE OUTREACH SERVICES, LLC
v.
SECRETARY REBEKAH GEE, MD, THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, AND TARA LEBLANC

          Appealed from the 19th Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket Number 671400 Honorable Richard "Chip" Moore, III, Judge Presiding

          Douglas L. Cade Counsel for Defendants/ Appellants Secretary Rebekah Gee, MD, the Louisiana Department of Health, and Tara Leblanc

          Elizabeth J. Wilson Linda Rodrigue Jennifer Thomas Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee Contin -U -Care Outreach Services, LLC

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.

          WHIPPLE, C.J.

         Defendants, Rebekah Gee, M.D., Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), and Tara Leblanc, appeal a judgment of the district court denying their exception of prematurity and granting plaintiff, Contin-U-Care Outreach Services, LLC's (Contin-U-Care), motion for preliminary and permanent injunctions. For the following reasons, we dismiss the appeal.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 11, 2018, Contin-U-Care, an in-home care-services provider, filed a petition for temporary restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunctions, and damages against defendants, Dr. Gee, LDH and Ms. Leblanc, in the 19th Judicial District Court. Approximately two months prior, Contin-U-Care, which provides the above-mentioned services to elderly and infirm Medicaid beneficiaries in and around the New Orleans area, received notice from LDH that it would be excluded from participating in the Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid), effective July 13, 2018, for a period of five years, due to several violations of the program as outlined in the notice. Almost immediately, LDH began notifying Contin-U-Care's clients that Contin-U-Care would no longer be participating in the Medicaid program. LDH included a list of alternate providers of these services to Contin-U-Care's clients, advising them that they would need to switch providers and inform LDH of same, if they wished to avoid a break in their services.

         As provided in the notice of exclusion, on May 23, 2018, Contin-U-Care sent a written request for an informal review of LDH's decision to exclude Contin-U-Care from the Medicaid program. An informal hearing was held on June 13, 2018, after which LDH reaffirmed its decision to exclude Contin-U-Care from the program in a letter dated June 21, 2018. The letter further advised that Contin-U- Care was entitled to seek an appeal before the Division of Administrative Law, and provided instructions regarding such an appeal.

         Instead of filing an appeal, Contin-U-Care filed a petition for injunctive relief in the 19th Judicial District Court, seeking to enjoin LDH, Dr. Gee, and Ms. Leblanc, from requiring Contin-U-Care's beneficiaries to change providers and for judgment requiring LDH to return Contin-U-Care to the "freedom of choice" list to allow it to do business as usual until exhaustion of all of its appeals.

         On July 12, 2018, the district court signed a temporary restraining order, [1] enjoining LDH, Dr. Gee, Ms. Leblanc and the Office of Aging and Adult Services from:

i. eliminating Contin-U-Care from the waiver provider "freedom of choice list" and the LT-PCS "freedom of choice list" prior to the exhaustion of all administrative and judicial proceedings;
ii. notifying Contin-U-Care's beneficiaries and their case managers that Contin-U-Care is no longer participating/will no longer be participating in the Medicaid Program prior to a final decision from the Secretary following an Administrative Hearing on the merits of the exclusion and exhaustion of all administrative and judicial proceedings;
iii. preventing Contin-U-Care's beneficiaries from returning to Contin-U-Care immediately, without any delay or ...

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