The District of Columbia and 16 states are pushing the Trump administration to protect nursing home residents’ Constitutional right to take facilities to court over alleged abuse, neglect, and sexual assault.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and state attorneys general for California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington sent comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) opposing its proposal to reverse an Obama-era rule that banned nursing homes from putting language in resident admission contracts that require disputes to be settled by a third-party arbitrator rather than a court. The attorneys general said in their comments:
Pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements in general can be procedurally unfair to consumers, and can jeopardize one of the fundamental rights of Americans; the right to be heard and seek judicial redress for our claims. This is especially true when consumers are making the difficult decisions regarding the long-term care of loved ones. These contractual provisions may be neither voluntary nor readily understandable for most consumers.
CMS announced its plan in June to revise the rule and allow nursing homes to use the provisions, known as pre-dispute arbitration agreements, so long as the agreements are written in plain language and are explained to the prospective resident. The resident must also acknowledge that they understand the agreement they are signing.
The attorneys general said they do not oppose mutually agreed upon arbitration agreements that are reached to resolve a dispute at the time the dispute arises; they oppose the imposition of such requirements on families who, under pressure, seek to admit a loved one into a long-term care facility and may not be in a position to object to the inclusion of such clauses in admission papers. Attorney General Racine said in a statement:
These kinds of clauses are unfair to seniors and their families and limit District residents’ basic right of access to justice. We are urging the Trump administration not to force vulnerable residents to sign away their own rights to gain the care they need.
Lawyers in our firm are currently representing – both in lawsuits and arbitration – nursing home residents or their families in cases where a resident was severely injured or died as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. If you have suffered serious injury, your loved one had been catastrophically injured or died, or you have any questions about nursing home abuse and neglect, contact Chris Boutwell in our office at Chris.Boutwell@beasleyallen.com or by phone at 800-898-2034.
Source: The Hill
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