A long-running dispute involving a class of Medicare-eligible patients who had to pay out-of-pocket for care at skilled nursing facilities is finally going to trial.

The Health and Human Services Department didn’t prove the patients had no right to a hearing to determine their hospitalization status before discharge, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut said March 27. It denied HHS summary judgment.

The decision could have a big impact on patients’ pocket books.

Medicare pays for SNF care for patients who are discharged from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility after at least three consecutive days...