U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina has denied an American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) motion for a preliminary injunction to stop national competitive bidding (NCB) from starting on July 1, AAHomecare has reported.
Urbina’s opinion, as quoted by AAHomecare, stated, “Because the court concluded that the plaintiffs are unable to demonstrate an irreparable injury, it denies the request for the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction.”
In its lawsuit against Secretary of Health & Human Services Michael Leavitt and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, AAHomecare claims the competitive bidding program’s implementation violates the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, the Small Business Act and the Administrative Procedures Act.
In commenting about Urbina’s decision, AAHomecare President Tyler Wilson said, “While we are disappointed that the court did not grant a preliminary injunction, we are encouraged that the court did not bar our claim on jurisdictional grounds. The court did not rule on the merits of the case. We believe the law supports our position, and we hope the court will uphold our statutory challenge. In the days and weeks ahead, we will press for a summary judgment from the court.”
Urbina’s decision comes after a failed cloture vote in the Senate late last week that would have brought H.R. 6331 before a full Senate vote. H.R. 6331, nicknamed the “doc-fix” bill, included competitive bidding program reforms and an implementation delay. The bill passed by a wide margin in the House.
Competitive bidding is due to start in the program’s first 10 areas tomorrow, and Congress is currently in recess until after the Independence Day holiday.