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The Law Offices of Heath D. Harte, LLC Advises Medical Patients to Know their Rights In Case of Possible Government Shutdown in 2014

The Law Offices of Heath D. Harte today announced that help is available for any victims of medical malpractice or other medical patients who might experience a denial of service in the event of a government shutdown in 2014. Attorney Heath D. Harte and his experienced team are on hand to offer assistance to anyone who feels like they are not receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.

With the federal government already having been shut down once in 2013 (, Government Shutdown Begins as Deadlocked Congress Flails, Oct 1, 2013) over a congressional deadlock over the Affordable Care Act, the temporary respite reached could be just that: temporary.

According to a report from CNN (Obama signs bill to end partial shutdown, stave off debt ceiling crisis, October 17, 2013), a deal was struck in congress to fund the Federal government through January 15, 2014. After that point, the status of the federal government and the programs its supports is unclear.

“We want victims of medical malpractice and anyone else to know that there are legal protections in place for their healthcare rights even in the event of a government shutdown in early 2014,” said Heath D. Harte. “Anyone who is concerned that they are not receiving the rights and benefits that they are due should reach out to an experienced legal professional and seek an accurate appraisal of their situation.”

Indeed, the contingency plan (Department of Health and Human Services Fiscal Year 2014 Contingency Staffing Plan for Operations in the Absence of Enacted Annual Appropriations) for the Department of Health and Human Services for fiscal year 2014 clearly states that the administrative bodies running both Medicare and Medicaid will remain open in the event of a government shutdown.

“The DHHS’ own contingency plan for such an eventuality clearly states that essential medical benefits like Medicare and Medicaid will remain open,” said Harte. “Any patient that is told anything different from a medical health professional or insurer should seek legal counsel, and/or contact the Center for Medical Advocacy in their area immediately.”

According to a memo from the Congressional Research Service to Senator Tom Coburn (Potential Effects of a Government Shutdown on Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), July 29, 2013), funding for the Affordable Care Act is considered “mandatory spending,” meaning that even in the event of a government shutdown, funding for the ACA would continue. Programs that are designated as “mandatory” are able to continue operation even in the face of the Antideficiency Act, which usually prohibits the operation of government programs in the absence of budget appropriations.

While a government shutdown could result in service delays, most essential functions of Medicare and Medicaid will continue to operate through emergency funds and other contingency plans.

“Therefore, any denial of Medicaid or Medicare services on the basis of government shutdown is unfounded,” said Attorney Heath D. Harte. “As a result, Medical malpractice issues may arise as a result of the denial of services due to the lack of basis related to payment concerns adds Attorney Heath D. Harte.”

Anyone who is concerned about the status of their care under Medicare or Medicaid should not wait for the next government shutdown before contacting the Medicare/Medicaid Center for Advocacy or the US Department for Medicare and Medicaid. Anyone who has already experienced a denial of services during the previous shutdown should takes steps now to educate themselves in obtaining the necessary services in the event of another government shutdown in the future. Concerned parties are also encouraged to reach out to their local Congressmen and petition them to look into the matter. As always, funding for these programs is mandatory, so by law, hospitals cannot refuse a patient any services.

About the Law Offices of Heath D. Harte
With over 25 years of experience, the Law Offices of Heath D. Harte is a full service law firm concentrating in Criminal Law, Personal Injury Law, Estate Planning, and Real Estate. While traditional in service and style, with smart use of experience and leveraging state of the art technology to streamline services, the firm cuts out excessive overhead usually associated with law firms. Lower overhead means that the firm can offer the same service one expects from a prestigious law firm, like the Law Offices of Heath D. Harte, at lower, more affordable costs to clients. The firm’s ultimate goal is to provide aggressive, reliable and effective legal representation at an affordable price. The firm also offers creative fee structures to accommodate clients’ needs, especially in today’s economic climate.

To learn more about The Law Offices of Heath D. Harte locations and services, please contact us at (203) 724-9555 or email.

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