CMS Voluntarily Dismisses Appeal on Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements – June 2, 2017

Ullman Bursa Law firmly believes in utilizing binding arbitration to resolve cases against nursing home and assisted living facilities. The Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued what we believe to have been both an illegal and unwarranted rule change in the fall of 2016, wherein pre-dispute arbitration agreements in the nursing home setting (i.e., it was not applicable to ALFs) were determined to be invalid. The American Health Care Association, along with the Mississippi Health Care Association and two nursing homes filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of Mississippi which sought (among other things) an injunction against CMS’ implementation of this ill-advised rule. In a 40-page opinion on November 7, 2016, the federal trial court judge granted a preliminary injunction against CMS which effectively halted the enforcement of the rule against pre-dispute arbitration agreements. CMS promptly filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. However, on June 2, 2017, CMS filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal which effectively keeps the preliminary injunction in place. Therefore, pre-dispute arbitration clauses continue to be permissible under federal law. Every state in the union has developed its own law on arbitration (statutory and/or case law), so it is important to have a working knowledge of the law in your state.