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 Association Takes Next Step In Arbitration Lawsuit

​The American Health Care Association (AHCA) announced that it has taken the next step in its legal action against the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) recently released Requirements of Participation (ROP) regulation. On Oct. 24, AHCA filed a preliminary injunction motion, and a memo supporting that motion, asking the court to bar the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the final rule prohibiting pre-dispute arbitration agreements in skilled nursing and nursing facilities.

“A preliminary injunction is both appropriate and necessary in this situation,” says Mark Parkinson, AHCA president and chief executive officer. “Delaying the implementation of this provision of the rule will allow the court time to examine the legality of the issue.”

The latest action comes after AHCA filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against Sylvia Mathews Burwell, U.S. secretary of HHS, and Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator for CMS, on Oct. 17. The complaint asks the court  to find the arbitration provision in the final ROP rule unlawful and also to stop the implementation date of the final arbitration regulation, allowing providers to continue to use pre-dispute arbitration agreements until the court makes a final determination on the merits of the case.

In the preliminary injunction motion, AHCA said that the ROP regulation would deprive skilled nursing and nursing facility residents and patients of the many benefits of arbitration, and it would impose serious financial burdens on skilled nursing and nursing facilities.

The implementation date of the final arbitration regulation is Nov. 28. AHCA hopes to delay this date when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division, hears arguments related to the injunction on Nov. 3. A ruling on the preliminary injunction is expected by Nov. 7. No matter the outcome, it is likely that one of the parties will subsequently appeal the injunction decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


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