Arbitration lawsuit against government to proceed without LeadingAge

LeadingAge will not be joining the American Health Care Association's lawsuit challenging the government's ban on pre-dispute arbitration, the group said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The American Health Care Association's lawsuit, announced last week during the group's annual convention, argues that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' arbitration ban goes beyond the agency's authority and “will needlessly deprive both SNFs/NFs and their residents of the benefits of arbitration.” The suit asks that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to block enforcement of the ban before it takes effect on Nov. 28.

In its statement LeadingAge said that the group backs up AHCA's argument that the ban exceeds CMS' authority, but its officials and legal committee “have concluded that it is not appropriate at this time and stage of the proceedings for LeadingAge to be involved in a legal challenge to the rule.”

“We oppose the action taken by CMS in the recently released Requirements of Participation to ban all pre-dispute arbitration agreements and are assessing our options to ensure that we are utilizing resources in the most effective and impactful manner,” the statement reads. “In the meantime, however, we urge our members to continue to seek alternatives to litigation when responding to any dispute with a resident.”

The group will also “actively monitor the circumstances” and plans to pursue any actions it believes are in the best interests of member facilities and the residents they serve.

AHCA is joined in its lawsuit by the Mississippi Health Care Association and three individual skilled nursing facilities; amicus briefs are expected to be filed on both sides as the case proceeds, an AHCA spokeswoman told McKnight's.