Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a rule rescinding an Obama-era regulation prohibiting nursing homes from requiring patients and their families to sign binding arbitration agreements. Signing those agreements, which are frequently part of admission paperwork, means giving up the right to sue a facility.
Obama knew seniors should not be forced to leave their right to legal recourse at the nursing home door. He knew arbitration agreements make current and future residents less safe. They prevent homes from being held publicly responsible for wrongdoing.
Settling disputes in secret means seniors and their families looking for a good home cannot know how many complaints or the nature of complaints lodged against a facility.
It was no surprise that the senior living industry opposed the rule for facilities paid by Medicare or Medicaid, taxpayer-financed programs that provide a large chunk of their revenue. In an attempt to protect homes from potential lawsuits brought by residents, the industry challenged the regulation by, ironically, filing its own lawsuit against the federal government. That prevented the rule from going into effect. And now the industry has a friend in the White House.
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