KUNM

Balderas Opposes Rollback Of Nursing Home Rule

Aug 21, 2017

New Mexico’s attorney general is opposing a move by President Trump to undo an Obama-era rule protecting nursing home patients.

The rule in question would block nursing homes from requiring patients to enter into what are called arbitration agreements—agreements that make people settle disputes privately rather than through the courts.

"The significance is that nursing home residents and their family members are giving up their right to sue the facility even if they do something egregious that ends in the death or serious harm to them or their loved ones," said Juliet Keene, a deputy director with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud division. She said in New Mexico nursing home patients sign these agreements all the time, often without being aware of what they are signing.

"In fact we see it with the vast majority of nursing home patients who we deal with," Keene said.

The rule banning arbitration was enacted by President Obama but has not yet gone into effect. It was delayed after opposition from the nursing home industry. President Trump has signaled that he doesn’t plan to let the rule take effect.

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KUNM's Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the McCune Charitable Foundation. Find more online at publichealthnm.org.