Probate

This summary also appears under Healthcare Law

 

Issues: Action for estate recovery under Michigan's Medicaid estate recovery program (the Act) (MCL 400.112g et seq.); Notice under the Act; MCL 400.112g(3)(e); MCL 400.112g(7); Medicaid (42 USC § 1396 et seq.); Legislative intent; Polkton Charter Twp. v. Pellegrom; Due process; Elba Twp. v. Gratiot Cnty. Drain Comm'r; Hinky Dinky Supermarket, Inc. v. Department of Cmty. Health; Mathews v. Eldridge; In re Petition by Wayne Cnty. Treasurer; Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH)

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published)

Case Name: In re Keyes

e-Journal Number: 59701

Judge(s): O'Connell, Fort Hood, and Gadola

 

The court held that the trial court erred by granting summary disposition for the appellee-estate because the appellant-MDCH provided the estate with timely notice when the estate sought Medicaid benefits. MDCH sought to recover about $110,000 in Medicaid benefits from the estate, which disallowed the expense. MDCH then filed suit, but the trial court granted summary disposition for the estate, finding that MDCH had failed to notify recipients "at the time of enrollment," as the Act required, which violated the estate's due process rights. On appeal, the court agreed with MDCH that the notice language of 400.112g(3)(e) is part of a subsection that requires it to seek guidance from the federal government and, because MCL 400.112g(7) does not mirror this language, the Act did not require it to notify the decedent about estate recovery when she enrolled in Medicaid. "Subsection (7) applies to the estate's case because the estate alleges that [the decedent] did not receive sufficient notice of estate recovery. Subsection (7)'s language is similar to that in Subsection (3)(e), but there is one major difference - timing. Subsection (3)(e) states 'at the time an individual enrolls in Medicaid,' while Subsection (7) states that [MDCH] must provide a notice when an individual 'seek[s] Medicaid eligibility[.]'" It noted that the decedent's relative filled a "'MEDICAID APPLICATION Patient of Nursing Facility' form on [her] behalf. This form included a notice about estate recovery." Thus, the relative "sought Medicaid benefits" on the decedent's behalf, after MDCH "provided him with a proper notice regarding estate recovery." The court also agreed with MDCH that the trial court erred when it determined that allowing estate recovery would violate the estate's due process rights, holding that "the estate was personally apprised of [the] action seeking estate recovery, and it had the opportunity to contest the possible deprivation of its property in the [trial] court. It received both notice and a hearing, which is what due process requires." Reversed and remanded.

 

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