You remember Trump owns a nursing home, right?
In the past, most contracts that families were required to sign with the nursing homes they were placing their loved one in had binding arbitration clauses. By signing these contracts, families basically signed away their right to bring a civil case against the nursing home if something detrimental happened to their loved one.
Last year, a new rule went into effect that gave that right back to nursing home patients and their families. They were no longer forced to settle through arbitration if their loved one had suffered abuse, neglect, sexual assault, or wrongful death. This new rule was ordered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In response, the nursing home industry filed a lawsuit, claiming that the CMS did not have the authority to make that rule change. A judge issued a preliminary injunction until the case could be heard in court.
It looks like that will not be happening, however, as the CMS recently announced it would not be fighting the lawsuit, but will instead reverse the rule, claiming that it put an “unnecessary burden on nursing homes.”
The only requirement of the binding arbitration clause now is that it needs to be in clear and easy to understand language. In addition to the for-profit nursing homes, there were other businesses and organizations who were in favor of mandating binding arbitration, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. All of these groups argued that lawsuits were costly and time-consuming.
However, the majority of public comments made in favor of keeping the rule came directly from nursing home abuse victims and their families, who share details of horrific abuse and neglect that were inflicted upon elderly patients. A spokesperson for CMS said the agency was reviewing all public comments pertaining to said abuses and negligence. They have three years to issue a final rule; however, the spokesperson said that it may be issued sooner.
Upon hearing of the agency’s decision to reverse their rule, Attorney Darryl Kogan commented, “This is appalling. Without the threat of having to answer in a court of law, nothing holds these facilities accountable. The terrible abuses our seniors suffer need to stop and this is not going to help.”