Reversing Forced Arbitration Ban Will Continue Nursing Homes’ Lack of Legal Accountability
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Aug 02, 2017 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
In June 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) declared its intention to reverse its previous ruling banning the use of forced arbitration in nursing homes.
The ban was announced in September 2016 and originally set to go into effect on Nov. 28, 2016. However, the effective date was put on hold while the decision remained at the center of a lawsuit filed by nursing home advocates who claimed the federal government overreached its use of power to enforce such a ruling.
If the CMS reverses its ban and allows forced arbitration to continue, nursing home residents and their loved ones will not have the right to file a lawsuit if they experience abuse or neglect in a nursing home. This means a nursing home will continue to have minimal accountability for harm caused to residents.
At PKSD, our dedicated Milwaukee nursing home abuse attorneys are strong advocates of nursing home residents’ rights and oppose any ruling that would limit a resident’s freedoms. We are committed to helping nursing home residents and their loved ones hold nursing homes liable for acts of abuse and neglect that occur in their facilities.
We encourage you to contact your policymakers and tell them to reinstate the ban.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a legal process widely favored by large corporations like nursing homes because it allows for a quick resolution of a dispute without the requirement of a judge or jury.
When a person signs an arbitration agreement, he or she surrenders the legal right to a trial before a judge and jury. This means he or she cannot file a lawsuit against the nursing home for any kind of abuse, neglect or other wrongdoing.
Nursing homes commonly require that new residents sign pre-dispute arbitration agreements as a requirement for admission into a facility. However, these clauses are often hidden in the fine print of admissions documents and may not be mentioned or fully explained to those signing the documents.
Unfortunately, those who are entering a nursing home are often rushed to find a facility and may not fully understand the documents they are signing. Many do not realize they are signing away their legal rights.
They will not know until it is too late that they cannot file a lawsuit against the facility for any wrongdoing they have experienced.
The Consequences of Forced Arbitration
Arbitration has been highly criticized for the significant bias it has toward nursing homes. These facilities control the entire arbitration process and have the power to choose the arbiter, the state in which the arbitration hearing occurs and the rules of the arbitration process.
During an arbitration hearing, the parties involved in a legal dispute present their argument to an arbiter, who acts as a third-party mediator. The arbiter negotiates a resolution between the two parties and reaches an outcome that both have to agree to.
However, because arbiters are hired by the nursing homes and have the opportunity to continue to be hired by them for future cases, it is in their best interest to serve the interests of the nursing home.
Furthermore, all evidence presented and negotiations and resolutions made during an arbitration hearing are confidential and cannot be disclosed to any party who was not present in the hearing.
This means the outcome of a legal claim filed against a nursing home will never be known by anyone who was not involved in the arbitration process. The facility is absolved from any public scrutiny for how a resident was treated or the settlement that was reached.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Milwaukee
If the CMS reverses the ruling banning forced arbitration, it will allow nursing homes to continue stripping their residents of fundamental legal rights guaranteed to all U.S. citizens.
However, our accomplished nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to fight for the rights of nursing home residents who have been abused or neglected by those trusted with providing them care.
If you suspect your loved one has been harmed by a nursing home staff member, caregiver or another resident within the facility, do not hesitate to contact reputable personal injury attorneys in Milwaukee for a free, no obligation consultation. We work only on a contingency fee basis, which means we will only charge you legal fee if we reach a fair outcome for your claim.