The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently received a report from an organization called Public Justice addressing the problem of mandatory arbitration agreements for nursing home patients and residents of long-term care facilities.
Arbitration agreements are contracts that an increasing number of nursing homes require new patients and/or their representatives to sign upon admission to the facility. These contracts bind the parties, in the event of a dispute regarding care (i.e., a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit) to engage in arbitration, rather than civil litigation. The benefits to the process are numerous for the nursing homes, as the process tends to result in more favorable outcomes for them and proceedings are confidential. Plus, arbitrators aren’t bound by decisions made by other courts or even other arbitrators. These clauses can also block class action lawsuits.
However, by forfeiting the right to civil litigation, potential claimants lose a number of important rights. Continue reading ›