SACRAMENTO — Yesterday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with 16 fellow attorneys general, submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommending that it maintain its pro-patient rule that protects patients’ rights by prohibiting pre-dispute arbitration clauses in nursing home and other long-term care contracts.
“The CMS proposal to reverse its ban on pre-dispute arbitration clauses will put seniors at risk by rolling back their rights,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Californians should not be forced to give up their right to have their day in court if they or their loved ones are the victims of misconduct or harm by a nursing home. Taking away protections for our seniors is yet another example of the Trump Administration putting the interests of corporations ahead of the interests of patients.”
In October 2016, CMS issued its final rule prohibiting the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements, clauses in facilities’ contracts that prohibit residents or families from going to court if they have been wronged by the facility, even in cases involving death or severe injury. The attorneys general in 16 states, including California, submitted a comment letter in support of this rule when it was proposed.
Under the Trump Administration, CMS has proposed reversing the ban on pre-dispute arbitration clauses. In the multistate letter submitted as a comment to this new CMS proposal, the group of attorneys general argue that pre-dispute arbitration agreements tend to disadvantage consumers and fail to hold facilities accountable for misconduct. The states’ comments emphasize that, “the prohibition on pre-dispute arbitration clauses provides an important protection for the consumers of our States at a time when consumers are undertaking a difficult and emotional decision.”
Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting consumers and defending Californians' healthcare access and security. In the filing of yesterday’s comments, he was joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii’s Attorney General and Office of Consumer Protection, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.
A copy of the letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.
Source: Office of the Attorney General of California