Kidney dialysis companies in court fight

By Jack Elliott Jr./The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional a 2011 state law that required appeals of certificate-of-need decisions by the Department of Health go directly to the Supreme Court.

The ruling came Thursday in a lawsuit between two companies competing to operate a kidney dialysis treatment center in Montgomery County.

The justices earlier had questioned whether the Supreme Court should hear the case. They said the constitution does not give them jurisdiction over certificate-of-need appeals. They said lawmakers should have proposed a companion constitutional amendment to make that change.

In Thursday’s ruling, the justices said appeals on certificates-of-need should go through an appropriate lower court first; in this case, chancery court.

The state requires a certificate-of-need in a process designed to avoid duplication of health care services and control costs.