The CMS (Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services) has banned use of forced arbitration in nursing homes contracts that accept federal funding.
Forced arbitration is when a company requires a consumer (or employee) to submit any dispute that might arise to binding arbitration. This type of clause has been used regularly in many nursing home admission contracts, and has prevented nursing home residents and their loved ones from pursuing constitutional right to be heard in a court of law when there are issues of neglect and abuse. Forced arbitration generally results in a much lower award to the plaintiff, even when the situation is egregious.
While this ruling does not affect nursing homes that do not accept federal dollars, ALF (Assisted Living Facilities), or Personal Care Homes, it is an important victory that may support arguments against forced arbitration in these other situations.
This CMS ruling is set to go into effect 11/26/16. The full ruling can be viewed at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-23503.pdf
At Rosen & Spears, we appreciate the consumers, colleagues, advocates and lawmakers that have fought to ensure the voices of seniors in long term care can be heard!