Likely closure can't stop CMS termination

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Despite meeting criteria for “irreparable injury,” a Rochester, NY-based skilled nursing facility that is appealing Medicare and Medicaid termination can't qualify for a stay of termination, a federal judge has ruled.

Blossom South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had its Medicare and Medicaid provider agreement terminated in August 2013 after numerous deficiencies, according to court documents. Citing alleged due process violations, the 160-bed skilled nursing facility then sued the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the New York State Department of Health. When a judge upheld CMS' decision to terminate the facility's provider agreement and a U.S. District Court dismissed the due-process case, Blossom appealed the district court's dismissal and requested a stay that would keep the provider agreement active throughout the appeals process.

Blossom met the stay of termination criteria for “irreparable injury” — damage that could force the facility to close its doors if a stay were not issued during the appeal. However, Blossom did not meet three other requirements for such a stay, ruled District Judge David G. Larimer. One of the criteria is demonstrating that the facility has a “likelihood of success” in its appeal, based on the merits of the case.

“In light of plaintiff's minimal chances of success on appeal, as well as the significant interests at stake with respect to the public, the residents of Blossom South, and the governmental bodies that have been charged by law with their protection, I find that the relief requested is not warranted,” Larimer wrote.

A ruling isn't expected from the appeals court until at least mid-March, when Blossom's Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements cease. In the meantime, Larimer acknowledged that “many residents are likely to leave Blossom South.”