The Trump administration rollback of Obama-era regulations includes an effort to end the rule that prevented nursing homes from forcing potential patients to agree to arbitration over complaints of abuse and neglect rather than being allowed to go to court.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia — not including Arkansas — have objected to the proposed reversal of the rule.


Pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements in general can be procedurally unfair to consumers, and can jeopardize one of the fundamental rights of Americans; the right to be heard and seek judicial redress for our claims,” the attorneys said in their comments.

“This is especially true when consumers are making the difficult decisions regarding the long-term care of loved ones. These contractual provisions may be neither voluntary nor readily understandable for most consumer.

CMS announced its plan in June to revise the rule and allow nursing homes to use the provisions, known to lawyers as pre-dispute arbitration agreements, so long as the agreements are written in plain language and are explained to the prospective resident. The resident must also acknowledge that they understand the agreement they are signing.

The attorneys general said they do not oppose mutually agreed upon arbitration agreements that are reached to resolve a dispute at the time the dispute arises; they oppose the imposition of such requirements on families who, under pressure, seek to admit a loved one into a long-term care facility and may not be in a position to object to the inclusion of such clauses in admission papers.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge favors arbitration, for abused nursing home patients and for victims of unscrupulous lenders. Why? Because it’s good for business to hold the upper hand. To borrow a phrase, the business of Arkansas government is business. Not consumer protection.