Supreme Court SNF Decision
The Supreme Court’s SNF decision regarding the use of an arbitrator could pose a financial threat to the industry. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the industries arbitration arguments this May.
The lawsuit revolves around three consolidated wrongful death cases where arbitration agreements were signed by patient representatives who had their power of attorney. The Supreme court of Kentucky ruled for the plaintiffs, finding that the resident’s arbitration agreements were not binding. Their rationale for this ruling was that the representatives power of attorney did not explicitly grant permission to waive the residents’ tight to a trial.
The American Health Care Association filed a brief this past August requesting that the Supreme Court review this case. The Supreme Court agreed and will hear arguments on February 22, 2017.
Long term providers have argued that this ruling if left standing could pose “a substantial threat to the long-term care industry at a time when demographic trends dictate that provisions of long-term care could become increasingly important”. AHCA and the Kentucky Association of Health Care facilities in a new court brief that this ruling could leave the industry without a cost and time effective method of dispute resolution.
The U. S. Chamber of Commerce also offered a brief in which they supported the arbitration as it “is a fair, efficient and inexpensive alternative to litigation”. They went on to say that arbitration would save 41% of the cost associated with facilities having to defend themselves in court. A number of other providers also provided support including Genesis Healthcare.
This case is part of a much larger battle raging in America over whether or not arbitration in a tool that should be used in place of the traditional path of litigation. It is clearly a method that would save time and money for the providers. It is unclear how the two methods would differ in their outcomes.
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