New Rule For Nursing Home Agreements Begins November 2016
On Wednesday September 28, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid released a new rule banning the mandatory pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses in nursing home patient contracts. Since almost all nursing homes receive money from Medicare and Medicaid this rule is great news for almost all families that have a loved one in out of home care. The rule also improves the training requirements for staff working in nursing facilities.
For many years now nursing homes have avoided traditional litigation, and denied their patients a fair day in court, by requiring that they agree to pre-dispute binding arbitration before admission. The rule, going into effect in November of this year, will not prohibit patients and their families from going to arbitration, if they so choose, but it returns the power to decide to the individual.
What is important to remember is that this rule only prohibits making the arbitration agreements mandatory for admission. Many homes will still include them in contacts, leaving it up to patients and their families to object. For this reason, The New York Times Editorial Board argued that the rule did not go far enough at the time of its proposal. They feared that patients would not have adequate knowledge to make an informed decision about whether or not to sign one of these soon to be optional arbitration agreements.
We at the Ferrara Law Firm, along with the American Associate for Justice, advocate against the use of pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses and do not recommend that our clients or family sign them. There is no reason someone should have to give up their right to a day in court in order to access adequate healthcare.
If you have questions about what you or a loved one should do, please contact us at (856) 779-9500.