This pattern has long put residents and their family members in a bind, redirecting them to an arbitration hearing in a lawyer’s office. In many cases, the arbitration agreement ends up shifting responsibility away from the nursing home.
However, it appears that this process may be coming to an end. In the fall of 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed and has since put into place a rule that now prevents homes receiving federal funding from using arbitration agreements. Officials from 16 states and Washington, D.C., decided that this long-time approach keeps repeat negligence hidden from residents and their families and, because the agreement is often part of a clause included in nursing home contracts, courts won’t budge on the issue. In effect as of November 2016, this change applies to 15,000 government-funded homes holding 1.5 million residents.
If you have to make this difficult decision on behalf of a loved one, what should you know?