In finding that a regulation promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH) was a valid exercise of regulatory authority, the Fourth Department noted that an agency need not rely on empirical studies when it adopts a regulation, but rather can rely on the expertise and experience of the agency. The challenged regulation limited a specific type of Medicaid-reimbursement to nursing homes pending an audit:
…DOH had statutory authority to promulgate 10 NYCRR 86-2.40 (m) (10) under Public Health Law § 2808 (2-c) (d) and … the regulation was not ” out of harmony' with an applicable statute” … . Although section 2808 (2-c) (d) does not explicitly authorize prepayment audits of residential health care facilities, “an agency can adopt regulations that go beyond the text of that legislation, provided that they are not inconsistent with the statutory language or its underlying purposes” … . Moreover, we reject petitioners' contention that DOH usurped the role of the legislature by adopting 10 NYCRR 86-2.40 (m) (10). DOH has “inherent authority to protect the quality and value of services rendered by [Medicaid] providers” … and, therefore, we conclude that DOH did not “stretch[ ] [the enabling statute] beyond its constitutionally valid reach” by adopting a regulation that allows a prepayment audit of Medicaid claims under certain circumstances … .
…10 NYCRR 86-2.40 (m) (10) “has a rational basis and is not unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious” … . Contrary to petitioners' contention, DOH is not required to rely upon empirical studies when it adopts a regulation. “Although documented studies often provide support for an agency's rule making, such studies are not the sine que non of a rational determination” … . Thus, “the commissioner [of DOH] . . . is not confined to factual data alone but also may apply broader judgmental considerations based upon the expertise and experience of the agency he [or she] heads” … . Here, DOH adopted 10 NYCRR 86-2.40 (m) (10) to “[e]nsure the accuracy and integrity of Medicaid rates that are adjusted for case mix data” (NY Reg, Jan. 2, 2013, at 16), and we conclude that adoption of the regulation was within DOH's authority in order to ” assure that the funds which have been set aside for (providing medical services to the needy) will not be fraudulently diverted into the hands of an untrustworthy provider of services' ” … . Matter of Adirondack Health-Uijlein Living Ctr v Shah, 2015 NY Slip Op 01073, 4th Dept 2-6-15