Public Citizen v. Department of Health and Human Services, et al. (formerly: Levine v. Department of Health and Human Services)

Government Transparency — non–FOIA
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Case Description: 

Public Citizen fought to enforce Medicare beneficiaries' right to be informed of the outcome of government investigations into the quality of the medical services they received.

This case challenged a government regulation that prohibits Peer Review Organizations from releasing the results of investigations of complaints about the quality of health care services, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320c-3(a)(14).

In July 2001, the district court held that the policy violated the statute and the intent of Congress. The judge found that an examination of the history, structure and underlying purpose of the statute supported the finding that a PRO must inform complainants of the substantive dispositions of their complaints. She ordered HHS to amend the policy within 20 days. HHS appealed, and the D.C. Circuit affirmed, upholding the district court's decision. The court of appeals June 2003 decision is published at 332 F.3d 654 (D.C. Cir. 2003).