States have 'wide discretion' to cut Medicaid payments to providers, White House says

The White House Office of Management and Budget held a meeting with nursing home consumer advocates on Friday to discuss a federal rule that could possibly roll back the national ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements.

The rule was posted to the OMB’s website in late April, with the title “Revision of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities: Arbitration Agreements.” While the “revisions” the rule proposes were unclear, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) soon after bashed the rule as a “misguided decision” to lift the arbitration ban. The rule is currently listed as being in the “proposed rule stage.”

OMB and Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services officials did not disclose at the meeting exactly what the rule would do, Modern Healthcare reported, but CMS officials “hinted” that they prefer arbitration to litigation. The agency also asked attendees whether arbitration was a more efficient way to resolve disputes than litigation.

One attendee told Modern Healthcare the legal battle surrounding the arbitration ban gives consumer advocates reason to believe the Trump administration is planning to repeal it.

Attendees of Friday’s meeting included representatives from The Consumer Voice, Justice in Aging, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, AARP and other consumer-centric groups, as well as CMS, OMB and Department of Health and Human Services officials. A list of documents posted along with the meeting’s notice on include a 2016 story from The New York Times on arbitration, as well as CNN’s recent report on sexual abuse in nursing homes.

The arbitration ban is currently on hold after a federal court granted the American Health Care Association motion to stop it from taking effect in November.