Shalala v. Guernsey Memorial Hospital, 514 U.S. 87, 23 (1995)

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94

SHALALA v. GUERNSEY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Opinion of the Court

payments to a provider . . . [who] does not maintain . . . adequate records." Not until the following subparts are cost reimbursement matters considered. Subpart C is entitled "Limits on Cost Reimbursement," subpart D "Apportionment [of Allowable Costs]," subpart E "Payments to Providers," and subparts F through H address reimbursement of particular cost categories. The logical sequence of a regulation or a part of it can be significant in interpreting its meaning.

It is true, as the Court of Appeals said, that 413.20(a) "does not exist in a vacuum" but rather is a part of the overall Medicare reimbursement scheme. 996 F. 2d, at 835. But it does not follow from the fact that a provider's cost accounting is the first step toward reimbursement that it is the only step. It is hardly surprising that the reimbursement process begins with certain recordkeeping requirements.

The regulations' description of the fiscal intermediary's role underscores this interpretation. The regulations direct the intermediary to consult and assist providers in interpreting and applying the principles of Medicare reimbursement to generate claims for reimbursable costs, 413.20(b), suggesting that a provider's own determination of its claims involves more than handing over its existing cost reports. The regulations permit initial acceptance of reimbursable cost claims, unless there are obvious errors or inconsistencies, in order to expedite payment. 413.64(f)(2). When a subsequent, more thorough audit follows, it may establish that adjustments are necessary. Ibid.; see also 421.100(a), (c). This sequence as well is consistent with the Secretary's view that a provider's cost accounting systems are only the first step in the ultimate determination of reimbursable costs.

The Secretary's position that 413.20(a) does not bind her to reimburse according to GAAP is supported by the regulation's text and the overall structure of the regulations. It

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