A Mississippi physical therapist who wants to provide home care services cannot do so because of the state’s home health regulations, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

Filed on behalf of Butch Slaughter by the Mississippi Justice Institute, the non-profit legal branch of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction against some of Mississippi’s certificate-of-need laws. Slaughter, who wants to expand his clinic-based business into one that offers home care services, says that a 40-year-old law prevents home health business startups from obtaining a new certificate of need from the state. Instead, they must buy one from a business no longer using its certificate.

Proponents of the regulations argue that they help limit healthcare spending. Opponents argue that they do the opposite by reducing competition. 

“Patients have been increasingly seeking in-home physical therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Slaughter said. “I can’t believe it is illegal for me to start a home health business to help more patients. Other companies are already doing this, but it’s illegal for anyone else to do it. It makes no sense.”