How are these nursing home residents supposed to be “winning” if they aren’t even allowed to have their day in a fair court?
Consumer groups are making a last ditch effort to stop the Trump administration from stripping nursing home residents and their families of the right to take facilities to court over alleged abuse, neglect or sexual assault.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans in June to do away with an Obama-era rule that prohibited nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid funds from including language in their resident contracts requiring that disputes be settled by a third party rather than a court.
More than 75 consumer, health and advocacy groups have come together to form the Fair Arbitration Now Coalition to stop CMS from reversing what they claim is a critical protection for the elderly.
Remington Gregg, counsel for civil justice and consumer rights at Public Citizen, said the rule change is not only unnecessary, but shameful.
Gregg said the provisions, known to lawyers as pre-dispute arbitration agreements, create an unequal balance of power between the nursing home and its elderly patients or the family members caring for them.
“When you are trying to get someone in a nursing home, often time it’s stressful or an emotional time. Often times loved ones can’t take care of themselves, so for a nursing home to say in order to get in you have to waive your right is shameful,” he said.
“We’re talking about everything you may have a problem with — abuse, neglect, sexual assault, a wide variety of things — they are now saying you are waiving your right to full justice.”