The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi today
ruled in favor of an injunction to halt implementation of an arbitration rule
by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The injunction will
bar CMS from implementing the final rule that bans pre-arbitration agreements
in skilled nursing and nursing facilities.
American Health Care Association (AHCA)
president and chief executive officer Mark Parkinson says the group is pleased
with the outcome. “The
court agreed with our argument that imposing a Nov. 28 implementation would
have resulted in real harm to providers as well as, we believe, to our residents,” said
Parkinson in a statement released today.
“We believe federal
law plainly prohibits CMS from issuing this arbitration regulation, and this
injunction will halt implementation of the final rule until the court can consider
the merits of the case,” he said.
The ruling comes after AHCA filed both
a request for a preliminary injunction and a supporting memo regarding the
recent ban on pre-dispute arbitration in nursing care centers.
expressing disappointment that that CMS included in the final rule a provision
banning all pre-dispute arbitration agreements, AHCA has said that the provision clearly exceeds
CMS’ statutory authority and is wholly unnecessary to protect residents’ health
CMS says it has this authority in order to regulate participation
in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In particular, CMS claims that “pre-dispute
arbitration agreements have a deleterious impact on the quality of care [under
the Medicare and Medicaid programs].”
Plaintiffs include AHCA, the Mississippi Health Care Association,
Great Oaks Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Heritage House Nursing Center,
and The Pavilion at Creekwood. The U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Mississippi heard arguments related to the injunction on Nov. 3 and
issued a ruling today.