A Florida federal judge has dismissed Envision's lawsuit against UnitedHealthcare over a contract dispute involving staffing and payments, the latest development in the drama between the two companies.
Instead, the judge said the dispute should be resolved through arbitration.
Envision, which staffs emergency departments in hospitals across the country, filed suit against UnitedHealth in mid-March, alleging the payer violated its contract by not adding Envision doctors to its network, and “unilaterally” decreasing contractual rates.
In response to the lawsuit, UnitedHealth announced it was ending its contract with the largest emergency room staffing company in the country by the start of next year due to the "egregious billing practices."
The insurer also claimed that Envision’s fees were, on average, almost 1,000% higher than Medicare fees. The company has faced criticism from lawmakers and hospitals regarding surprise billing from EmCare, a subsidiary of Envision.
In a decision issued late last week, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Miami ruled (PDF) the dispute should be resolved through arbitration, due to a provision in the companies' 2009 contract, an apparent win for the Minnesota-based insurer.
“To extend the waiver rule to a contractual breach alone would…render arbitration provisions meaningless,” the judge said.
Neither UnitedHealth nor Envision responded to FierceHealthcare's request for comment on the decision.