This is a discouraging but unsurprising development in Arkansas. The Trump administration is attempting to roll back regulations that prevented nursing homes from forcing the families of the elderly and infirm to sign arbitration agreements that limited their rights to bring legal action in the face of abuse or neglect. Execution of these agreements not only normally waives the rights of families to seek redress in courts, but they often allow the nursing home to select the arbitrator, which is often one predisposed and biased towards the nursing homes' position. Imagine a pitcher who gets to pre-select an umpire to call balls and strikes to his liking. The potential for abuse is evident.
Attorneys General from sixteen states have objected to this giveaway to monied special interests, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has refused to join in these objections. The message to patients and families in Arkansas is clear: Not only are you on your own if your loved one goes into the nursing home. The deck will be stacked against you should your loved one be abused or neglected.