Providers push court on arbitration ruling

Kentucky nursing home providers are feeling the negative effects of the state's strict rules on arbitration, a leading provider group told the U.S. Supreme Court in August.

In a brief, the American Health Care Association and the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities called for a review of a Kentucky Supreme Court decision that said arbitration isn't binding unless consent comes directly from the principal. That 2015 decision subjects arbitration agreements to a number of requirements that don't apply to similar contracts.

The groups argue that the state's arbitration rules don't comply with the Federal Arbitration Act, and could leave providers to pay the hefty litigation fees associated with arbitration.

AHCA and the Kentucky provider group hope a potential review of the state court's decision would result in the Supreme Court ruling, as it has in similar cases, that the FAA preempts state laws that discriminate against arbitration agreements.

A Supreme Court ruling in providers' favor would “help bring a final end to the game of judicial whack-a-mole that has persisted in certain state courts unwilling to follow this Court's binding decisions interpreting the FAA,” the groups said in the brief.

“The simple truth is that in certain states, providers know that if they attempt to enforce arbitration agreements covering tort disputes, there is a significant possibility that they will have to undergo lengthy and costly litigation over the arbitration agreements' enforceability,” the brief reads. “Members of the LTC Profession should not have to make such expensive choices just to have their rights under the FAA respected.”