In June, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule that would allow nursing homes to require arbitration agreements as a condition of admission. A nursing home arbitration agreement is a legally binding commitment that forces nursing home residents and their loved ones into negotiations over conflicts that would normally go through the court system. Nursing home arbitration agreements remove the 7th amendment right to a trial by jury and are infamous for pushing grieving families into unfair agreements with biased arbitrators chosen by nursing homes themselves. Binding arbitration agreements are well known for allowing lesser settlements for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect while keeping tragic truths out of the public eye. Arbitration agreements allow a nursing home to continue to offer suboptimal care while still admitting unsuspecting elderly residents. The passage of such a rule would be devastating to the millions of Americans who currently reside in nursing homes and the millions that will require nursing home care in the coming years.
Sudden Change of Opinion
The recent push by CMS to pass a rule allowing binding arbitration agreements in nursing homes has been met with suspicion. Just last year, the government organization responsible for regulating nursing homes attempted to pass a law BANNING the very same agreements they’re now rallying for. The enforcement of a ban on arbitration agreements was halted by a federal judge in Mississippi. Those who fought to halt the ban? Lobbyists and industry groups with a stake in the profitability of nursing homes.