Trump Administration Will Allow Nursing Homes To Strip Residents Of Legal Rights


The Trump administration has proposed revising a rule that hasn’t even gone into effect yet, with the goal of making sure that nursing home residents and their loved ones can not sue these long-term care facilities in the event that something horrible happens.

Amid concerns about the treatment of patients at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, a growing number of the companies that operate these businesses have begun including forced arbitration clauses in their residents’ contracts.  

These clauses take away the patient’s constitutional right to a day in court, and shunt all legal disputes into private (often confidential) arbitration. Additionally, most arbitration clauses also include a ban on class actions, so multiple residents of the same facility who were each wronged in the same way would nonetheless be barred from having their issue heard jointly. Rather, each resident would be required to go through the arbitration process on their own.

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) passed a new rule that would stop almost all long-term care (LTC) facilities from forcing new residents to sign binding arbitration agreements. Basically, if an LTC wanted to accept either Medicaid or Medicare it would need to abide by this rule.

However, the American Health Care Association — an LTC industry trade group — sued the government almost immediately to prevent this rule from taking effect, and in Nov. 2016, a federal judge in Mississippi granted an injunction temporarily barring CMS from moving forward with implementing the ban on arbitration agreements.

The Department of Health and Human Services had until last Friday, June 2, to file with the court to continue the government’s appeal, but instead allowed their appeal to lapse [PDF], indicating that HHS has no intention of defending this rule.

That intention was made clear this week, when CMS officially proposed a revision to the arbitration ban; rather, it’s less a revision than it is a deletion.

The new administration, which has openly derided the federal court system when judges have disagreed with the White House, is here embracing the opinion of the Mississippi judge, saying that “After [the Nov. 7, 2016] decision, CMS reviewed and reconsidered the arbitration requirements in the 2016 Final Rule.”

The CMS proposal — which comes only days after representatives for the industry actively lobbied lawmakers on Capitol Hill — claims to increase the transparency of arbitration clauses by making sure they are written in plain English, that they must be explained to the resident, and that the resident must specifically acknowledge this clause.

But what good does transparency do when the resident has no choice?

“Mr. Adams, signing this clause means you won’t be able to sue Sally’s Nursing Funhouse in court, even if we’ve been deliberately charging illegal fees to you and all the other residents for years.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound good. I don’t think I’ll sign that.”

“Okay then. You can’t live here.”

“Fine. I’ll just take my business to Jimmy’s Assisted Livatorium.”

“They’re actually owned by our parent company, and even if they weren’t, every other nursing home in the area has basically the same clause, so you’re likely out of luck.”

“Oh well, at least now I know I’m powerless to fight back. Thank you CMS for this new, glorious layer of transparency!”

The Fair Arbitration Now coalition, a group of consumer and legal advocacy groups (including our colleagues at Consumers Union), is calling shenanigans on CMS’s decision to let the LTC industry win this battle.

“Anyone who has ever had a family member move into a nursing home, or anyone with an ounce of sense and compassion, would recognize that seniors and their families undergoing an incredibly challenging transition are in no position to bargain over obscure contract terms – terms they probably do not even understand,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a member of the FAN coalition. “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. It’s hard to imagine a more callous policy.”

8 thoughts on “Trump Administration Will Allow Nursing Homes To Strip Residents Of Legal Rights

  1. When it’s time to move into a nursing fema camp, just rob a bank, you’ll get better treatment.

  2. Show me in the contract that those who SERVE WITHIN our governments are under where they have the DELEGATED LAWFUL authority to give, trade, sell, etc any authority that they are actually allowed to use – this is NOT one that was delegated, but it is protected. It is NOT there.

    Just like when you hear that those who serve within our governments give themselves, corporations, others, etc “immunity”. They can NOT do this, it is usurpation, color of law. Think about it, the US Constitution gives them three (3) immunities, and those are the ONLY immunities that those who serve within our government have LAWFULLY; and it all has to deal with them debating things in the “house”. There they are protected so that they can debate fully any item necessary.

    Please learn what those WHO SERVE WITHIN our governments are allowed to do, it IS in writing, it IS lawful, it IS their supreme Contract, and they are lawfully Oath bound to it.

    For those of you who say it is not enforced. You’re correct, but WHO are the constitutionally designated enforcers? WE are, but there are requirements of us in writing of conditions we MUST meet so that we also do not overstep the bounds.

    1. The Constitution has been usurped via breach, it is null and void. We can’t overstep any bounds in removing this tyranny. All power has reverted back to us as the states likewise have breached their contracts out of existence. The removal of our common law Bill of Rights through the War Powers Act, Patriot Act, and Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA are acts of war.
      As we the people as individuals have never signed on to any treaty in reference to conduct of war within our own borders, the gloves are off and they are all fair game just like any other invading force would be.

      1. LOL… I’ve given up on this one, Henry. 🙄

        One parting shot coming up next, however.

    2. “Please learn what those WHO SERVE WITHIN our governments are allowed to do,…”


      “…it IS in writing,…”


      “… it IS their supreme Contract,…”


      Keep drinking that Kool-Aid, Cal, you’re BOUND & DETERMINED to NOT get it right!

  3. Nursing homes….
    Isn’t that the place where the the foreign nurses neglect and steal the patients oxycontin and drugs.
    Then sell it on the street at a profit…?
    But they keep sending you the bill…?
    Like a 3rd prescription party at the VA….?
    How would I know this.
    Because I’m fkng living it.
    I got a bill here for over 300 dollars.
    I haven’t paid yet.
    My Uncle has Tricare for life.
    Yet the VA switches out different subcontractors for prescriptions as soon as people catch on.
    I hope those leeches at the VA die and go to hell.
    If not …
    I can think of a better place.
    We’ve reached a level of corruption that most people can’t comprehend and willfully choose to ignore.
    It’s a virus of apathy.

    But that’s just fine Donald.
    In a few years you’re going to find out what it’s like when a philipino male nurse throws you onto the floor and breaks your hips twice in a few months time.
    Then charges your insurance a couple times for surgery at 100k a pop before you die.

    How would I know this…?
    Because I’ve fkng witnessed it.

    1. Sounds like you could use some leverage.
      Say – 9mm, or even better – 357 mag
      Would that help?

      This would also help at contract signing time. Just open carry.

      Unrealistic? Maybe. But it sure would drive a point home.

  4. “The Bill of Rights is part of the US Constitution.”


    “It does not supersede it,…”

    Wrong AGAIN. It does. It was written to COUNTERACT misuse of the Constitution by the so-called ‘government’.

    “I fully believe that those who serve within our governments – state and federal – have many traitors, and tons of those pesky domestic enemies.

    That does not negate the US Constitution. ”

    You obviously don’t understand the mechanics of a contract. ANY CONTRACT, once broken, is null & void by the very nature of contracts. The Constitution IS negated, and has been for a very long time.

    “WE are, but there are requirements of us in writing of conditions we MUST meet so that we also do not overstep the bounds.”

    Not overstep the bounds?


    Stay within the white lines, Cal.

    Get you killed for sure. We’re not dealing with sane people here. You obviously don’t get that.

    (For anyone else reading this, it’s a reply to a ghost comment, I’m not talking to myself… yet.)

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