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Advice from the Bench in Medicaid Cases

In preparing the original version of these materials several years ago, I spoke with one of the Administrative Law Judges (the Hon. Patrick Woodard) regarding what Judges want advocates to know about hearings.

Make copies. Although you may presume your judge knows Medicaid law, don’t presume your judge is a Medicaid expert. Make copies of every published and unpublished regulation, rule and case you reference.

Brief complicated cases. A pre-trial brief is a great idea. Ideally it should be sent to the Court five to ten days prior to the hearing. If that is not possible, then bring your brief to the hearing.

Brief means “brief”. If it was meant to be long, it would be called a “Long.”

KISS. Keep it simple. ALJs typically handle more than 600 cases each month. Simplicity counts. Assume the facts in your brief are true and summarize them with a reference to the appropriate exhibit. Two to three pages is ideal.

Prepare your witnesses. If you don’t speak with your witnesses prior to the hearing, then you can expect to encounter problems. Do not assume a witness will say what your client claims they will say.

Don’t hide the ball. Every hidden ball is eventually found. If you try to hide the ball, then when it is found, you should expect the Initial Decision will be vacated and the case will be re-set for hearing in front of a “ticked off” judge who has the State Bar on speed dial.

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