Consumer groups are in the midst of a battle to stop the Trump administration from enacting rules that would prevent patients and their families from holding nursing homes accountable for abuse, according to The Hill.
This past June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that planned to kill an Obama-era rule that blocked nursing homes from forcing residents to settle disputes through third party means rather than the courts.
The Hill reports that over “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.”
“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,” said Public Citizen’s Remington Gregg.
From The Hill:
CMS said it decided to reconsider the rule after a federal district court judge in Mississippi issued an order in November temporarily blocking the rule from taking effect.
The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and a group of nursing homes had sued CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services in October, claiming that the rule violated the Federal Arbitration Act and that the agencies had overstepped their statutory authority in issuing the law. The AHCA said Congress has repeatedly rejected legislation to invalidate arbitration agreements.
In June, the federal judge agreed to the parties’ joint request to put the case on hold while CMS revises the rule.
Under its proposed revisions, CMS said nursing homes would be required to write the arbitration agreements in plain language and explain the agreement to the prospective resident or his or her representative. Residents would also be required to acknowledge they understand the agreement.
According to Gregg, Public Citizen will fight challenge the rule change if it goes into effect.
“Any agency action must meet a high bar for ensuring the action taken isn’t arbitrary and capricious,” he said.
“Simply making the argument that we are a new administration and want to make sure corporations don’t have regulations that are forcing them to be accountable is not a good enough reason to change a rule that underwent extensive review.”
Featured image via Gage Skidmore