Last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a rule banning the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration agreements by nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. The result of the new rule would have been that families who have an issue with a nursing home regarding care, abuse, and the like, would have been able to sue in court to have their case heard versus having to go through a binding arbitration process. However, the American Health Care Association along with four long-term care providers filed suit against the Health and Human Services Secretary and CMS arguing that the agencies overstepped their authority in issuing the rule. Injunctive relief was granted preventing the rule from going into effect.
In May of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court in Kindred Nursing Centers L.P. vs. Clark, overturned a ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court in which the Kentucky Supreme Court stated that durable powers of attorney must explicitly permit an agent to enter into an arbitration agreement or otherwise risk violating the Kentucky Constitution where access to the courts and a trial by jury is ‘sacred’ and inviolate’. Instead the U.S. Supreme Court held that Kentucky’s ruling violated the Federal Arbitration Act by treating arbitration agreements differently.
As a result, earlier this month CMS issued proposed revisions to its arbitration agreement requirements for nursing homes and long-term care facilities. CMS is no longer proposing a ban on arbitration agreements in admissions agreements, but it is requiring greater transparency as to the meaning and understanding of such provisions in admissions agreements. Thus, it appears at this juncture that CMS is trying to find some middle ground between a complete ban on arbitration agreements and the decision in the Kindred case, but only time will tell if that middle ground has been found between the rights of the families of patients and the long-term care facilities. #elderlaw #elderabuse #nursinghome #arbitration #CMS #SCOTUS @bgnthebgn
An update regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) new rule banning the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration agreement by nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. As was expected, the nursing home industry has fought back and filed suit in the Northern District of Mississippi. In a 40 page Order, a Federal District Court Judge has granted the preliminary injunction requested by the American Health Care Association and several nursing homes. In the opinion, the Judge recognized the position many families find themselves in cases of abuse and neglect when dealing with the nursing home, but indicated that CMS may have overstepped its authority in issuing the rule, and therefore, enjoined CMS from enforcing the rule until the courts could resolve the issue or Congress passed legislation. Therefore, nursing homes will continue to be able to include such provisions in their contracts. Furthermore, with the election in the rear view mirror, only time will tell what will become of this rule. #elderlaw #elderabuse #nursinghome #arbitrationbanned
Also, a brief update that the Death with Dignity Act in the District of Columbia has cleared the last hurdle before going to Mayor Muriel Bowser. The vote of the D.C. Council was again 11-2 and was passed with an amendment requiring some level of annual reporting by the Department of Health. The Act is expected to become law, but Congress still has oversight and the Act may still be overturned. However, at this juncture D.C. joins Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California and Colorado in passing such legislation. As has been expressed before, the passage of this Act is a reminder to get your plan in place. #endoflife #estateplanning #advancedirective #livingwill @deathwdignity @bgnthebgn
An earlier article discussed the ABLE Act that was signed into law in 2014, which permits disabled individuals to create savings accounts and set aside monies for their needs without disqualifying them from public benefits. Three different pieces of legislation were then proposed in the House to modify some of the provisions of the ABLE Act. Corresponding legislation was introduced in the Senate and referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. The Senate Finance Committee has approved two of the bills, but the third bill, which would raise the age of eligibility to 46 from 26, was not discussed. Many groups are upset that the ABLE Age Adjustment Act was omitted and may oppose all of the bills in an effort to have the age limitation bill revisited. The bills still need to wind their way through the procedural process, but certainly there are various negotiations occurring behind the scenes and hopefully resolution is on the horizon. In the meantime, implementation of the ABLE Act is in full force around the country. #specialneeds #ABLEact #estateplanning @bgnthebgn
In addition, as was predicted, a battle has erupted between the nursing home industry and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) over the final rule issued by CMS that bans the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration agreements by nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. The American Health Care Association along with four long-term care providers filed suit against the Health and Human Services Secretary and CMS arguing that the agencies overstepped their authority in issuing the rule. They are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the rule from going into effect on November 28th. Many will follow this case closely as the final rule, as issued, will have quite the impact on the nursing home industry, the patients and their families if it takes effect. Thus, stay tuned for further updates as the lawsuit moves forward. #elderlaw #elderabuse #nursinghome #arbitrationbanned @bgnthebgn