Nursing Home Patients Vulnerable to Abuse Through Arbitration Clauses
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on July 25, 2016 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
In a New York Times opinion piece, the newspaper’s editorial board highlighted the dangers that arbitration clauses pose for nursing home residents suffering from abuse or neglect.
The article noted that a soon-to-be finalized federal rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fails to hold nursing homes accountable to patients by allowing the continued inclusion of arbitration clauses in nursing home admissions contracts.
If a dispute were to arise between a corporation and a patient, consumer or investor, arbitration clauses require the use of private arbitration rather than lawsuits to settle the disagreement.
Corporations overwhelmingly use forced arbitration because the process most often works in their favor. The process, however, strips individuals of their right to justice through a trial before a judge and a jury. It denies legal recourse to innocent victims who have been wronged by major corporations.
The use of arbitration clauses is particularly problematic in nursing homes where most disputes are over abusive care or neglect, rather than money.
The proposed rule allows nursing homes to continue including arbitration clauses in their contracts so long as they take steps to disclose and explain the clause and do not require a clause be signed for admission.
The problem is that nursing home residents and their families do not have the knowledge and resources to fully understand the gravity of signing this type of clause. It requires that they think about potential abuses before they even occur. The editorial board noted that the process of admitting a loved one to a nursing home is already stressful enough.
The board is calling for the White House Office of Management and Budget, which will review and approve the rule, to ask for revisions that further restrict nursing home facilities’ ability to include arbitration clauses in admission contracts.
As staunch supporters of the rights of nursing home residents, PKSD has strongly opposed the use of arbitration clauses. Our nursing home abuse lawyers remain committed to helping residents who have been abused or neglected seek justice and fair compensation for their suffering.