The New York Times reported on Trump’s decision to abandon a rule that would have protected nursing home residents from injuries caused by substandard care, abuse or neglect. Trump will now allow nursing homes to require residents to waive their constitutional right to a jury trial by requiring the residents to sign mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses as a condition of admission to the home.
“About half of nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and consumer advocates say harried family members could easily miss the arbitration clauses as they move a loved one into a home offering care.”
The attorneys general of 16 states, led by Brian E. Frosh of Maryland and Xavier Becerra of California, and consumer advocates strongly opposed the Trump administration proposal. Thirty-one senators, led by Ron Wyden of Oregon and Al Franken of Minnesota, both Democrats, also objected to the Trump administration proposal. With Medicaid and Medicare spending more than $80 billion a year on nursing home care, they said, nursing homes should not be able to cover up wrongdoing by forcing patients to relinquish the right to sue.
Long-term care ombudsmen, who receive federal funds to serve as advocates for nursing home residents in each state, are skeptical of the new initiative. “The proposed rule would undermine the rights of people living in nursing homes — rights established in a 1987 law,” said Patty Ducayet, the Texas ombudswoman, who is a state employee.