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Internships & Externships

The Departmental Appeals Board (“DAB”) offers summer internships and full-time, semester-long externships to law school students. The DAB has four distinct and unique Divisions, which are:

Appellate Division

The Appellate Division provides staff support for the Board Members, who are career civil servants appointed by the Secretary to provide an impartial, independent review of disputes arising in a wide range of HHS programs.  The Board provides de novo review (which may include an evidentiary hearing) of certain types of final decisions of HHS operating components, such as–  

  1. determinations in discretionary, project grant programs, including disallowances, terminations and denials of refunding, cost allocation plan disapprovals, and rate determinations; and
  2. determinations in mandatory grant programs, including disallowances of state claims under titles I, IV-A (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), IV-D (Child Support Enforcement), IV-E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance), X, XIV, XVI, XIX (Medicaid), and XXI (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) of the Social Security Act.

The Board also provides appellate review of certain types of Administrative Law Judge decisions.  In most cases, the Board decision is the final administrative decision of HHS.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Division

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Division provides alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) services in appeals filed with the Board’s other three Divisions.  In addition, the Division supports the HHS Dispute Resolution Specialist (the DAB Chair) in carrying out her responsibilities to implement ADR and negotiated rulemaking at the Department.  ADR in Board cases typically involves either mediation or ombuds services.  Staff support to the HHS Dispute Resolution Specialist includes conflict management training to HHS employees, mediating workplace disputes, administering the Federal Sharing Neutrals program (which provides mediators to HHS and other participating federal agencies), providing policy advice and guidance, and participating in interagency ADR initiatives through the Federal Interagency ADR Steering Committee.

Civil Remedies Division

The Civil Remedies Division (“CRD”) provides staff support for the Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) assigned to the DAB.  The ALJs are qualified under the Federal Administrative Procedure Act to conduct hearings on the record.  Generally, the ALJ decision is an initial decision that may be appealed to the Board.  If the ALJ decision is not appealed, it represents the final administrative decision.

CRD ALJs also provide hearings and issue initial agency decisions regarding civil monetary penalties (CMPs) proposed by CMS under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.  These ALJ decisions may be reviewed by the CMS Administrator or his or her delegate.  In addition, CRD ALJs provide hearings in certain debt collection cases brought by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), involving nonbargaining unit employees and debts, requiring an independent hearing officer. Finally, they provide hearings in cases in which the Center for Tobacco Products would like to impose CMPs and no-tobacco-sale orders on tobacco retailers who sell tobacco products to minors.

Medicare Operations Division

The Medicare Operations Division provides staff support to the Administrative Appeals Judges and Appeals Officers on the Medicare Appeals Council.  The Council provides the final administrative review of claims for entitlement to Medicare and individual claims for Medicare coverage and payment filed by beneficiaries or health care providers/suppliers.

SSA makes the initial determination on a claim for entitlement to Medicare.  A contractor of CMS, including a Medicare Advantage organization, makes an initial determination on an individual claim for Medicare coverage and payment.  On appeal, an ALJ assigned to the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals provides a hearing.  If a party is dissatisfied with an ALJ decision or dismissal, it may request the Council’s review.  The Council may also undertake review of an ALJ decision on its own motion.  Final Council decisions may be appealed to federal court if certain “amount in controversy” requirements are met.

Internship Program

During the fall and spring semesters, the DAB offers unpaid externships to law students from schools in the Baltimore - Washington, D.C. region, and to law students throughout the country who are spending the semester in residence for academic credit. Externs must be able to work full-time for the DAB. They may be assigned to any DAB division, as appropriate.

During the summer, the DAB offers unpaid internships to law students from schools throughout the United States. Summer interns are assigned to specific divisions based on the divisions’ needs and the interests and skills of the interns. For more information on the internship/externship opportunities at the Departmental Appeals Board, please contact Molly McBurney at molly.mcburney@hhs.gov or 202-565-9539. To apply, please e-mail a cover letter, résumé, legal writing sample (no more than 10 pages), and your unofficial law school transcript to Molly McBurney at molly.mcburney@hhs.gov.

Content created by Departmental Appeals Board (DAB)
Content last reviewed on July 23, 2018