After 12 years of legal drama, the California Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a standard admission agreement (SAA) in 2012, setting the contractual terms of service between nursing homes and their residents. Within a month, over 300 nursing homes made a total of 4,660 requests to modify the SAA.
CANHR’s in-depth review of each of these requests demonstrates an industry-wide effort to undermine the SAA. Hundreds of facilities sought changes that had been specifically overruled by DPH or the courts, recycling old, unsuccessful arguments. The requested changes to the SAA would increase nursing homes’ already significant disparity in power over residents by proposing to eliminate residents’ legal rights and limiting their ability to seek remedies for injuries. In the end, DPH was flooded with boilerplate requests coordinated by a handful of nursing home lawyers and consultants seeking to change the SAA to maximize revenue at the expense of resident rights.
Over 25% of the state’s nursing homes wanted to make their contracts more one-sided in what is already a very inequitable and confusing admissions process for residents and their families. The goal of many facilities was to sneak in arbitration agreements whereby residents give up their right to seek justice in a court of law if they are abused or neglected.