In September, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule which prohibits nursing homes and long-term care facilities from forcing patients and their families into private arbitration. This rule goes into effect in November 2016.
Up until now, long-term care facilities routinely inserted mandatory arbitration clauses in their admission paperwork. This meant that any claim that a patient had with a facility about mistreatment, malpractice, or even billing could never be resolved in a court of law. Instead, the patient had to submit to a private, arbitration to seek relief. This system allowed nursing home cronies to decide the cases and also kept nursing home abuse secret.
Nursing homes included these clauses in the fine print when a patient was first admitted to the facility. The clause included language that prohibited the nursing home from being sued in court by the patient. For years, lawyers and consumer advocates argued that this wasn’t fair because patients and their families weren’t made aware of this clause when they signed the admission papers. As most of us can imagine, at the time of admission, patients and their families are concerned about the nursing care they desperately need—not legal clauses in a contract.
For patients and families, finding a suitable, safe, and reliable long term-care facility is a challenging and stressful process. CMS’s new rule prohibiting long-term care facilities from including a mandatory arbitration clause in the admission documents, at least, will make sure that patients aren’t automatically deprived of their legal rights.
Contact me today with questions or comments about this new rule.
Katter Law Firm
Alt Phone: 212-809-4293