Abused Nursing Home Patients Again Subject to Forced Arbitration
A brand new Obama policy is being rolled back by the Trump administration. Last fall, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Service finalized a rule that banned nursing homes and assisted living facilities from forcing patients and their families into private arbitration to resolve any disputes. As mentioned in previous Sweeney Law Firm blog posts, forced arbitration deprives injured nursing home residents of the right to resort to the court system to resolve their claims against a nursing home.
Consumer advocates quickly condemned the move, with the Fair Arbitration Now (FAN) Coalition saying that the reversal will ultimately hurt nursing home residents at a vulnerable time in their life. The new proposal removes the ban on arbitration clauses, revising the forced arbitration rule to say only that such provisions must be in “plain language” and must be explained, and that patients must acknowledge they understand the policy. The agency will be accepting public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days after it appears in the Federal Register.
The healthcare industry and the patient’s advocacy group continue to go back and forth on this issue. Lobby groups and individual nursing home facilities sued the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in October over the new restrictions, and a Mississippi federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in favor of nursing homes.