Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Let's say your elderly parent was neglected or abused in a nursing home. In the past, your only recourse might have been arbitration, rather than going to court.
But thanks to a rule put in place last fall by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, nursing homes that receive federal funding -- which is most of them -- could no longer include so-called mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts. In other words, residents and their family members were given back the right to sue.
Now the Trump administration is trying to get rid of that protection.
Rob Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, described the move to me as "a heartless and vile act."
"The Trump administration apparently thinks it is okay for nursing homes to force seniors into signing contract terms that give up their right to sue in court if they are subsequently victimized by neglect or abuse," he said. "It's hard to imagine a more callous policy."
Be that as it may, Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said the proposed regulatory step backward is hardly a surprise.
"The nursing-home industry has lobbied very hard for this," she said.
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