A final ruling from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will return a vital right to 1.5 million nursing home residents and their families by banning the use of forced arbitration agreements by nursing homes that receive federal funding.
Before the ruling, many nursing home residents were forced to sign arbitration clauses hidden within the fine print of admission documents. This allowed long-term care facilities to settle disputes with residents outside of court and away from public scrutiny.
The new rule, set to go into effect on Nov. 28, will reinforce the rights of nursing home residents to bring a lawsuit before a judge and jury in cases of abuse, neglect or wrongful death.
Through the use of arbitration, these cases were often kept private and prevented residents’ family members from getting the justice they deserved.
Opponents of the use of arbitration agreements say that they ignore the basic legal rights of residents as U.S. citizens, while allowing continuous acts of abuse and neglect by long-term care facilities.
The rule to discontinue nursing homes’ use of arbitration came after 16 state officials urged the federal government to cease funding for facilities that incorporated the legal practice.
The CMS, which controls funding for 15,000 long-term facilities, plans to do just that by cutting funding from nursing home facilities that do not to comply with the new ruling.
A class action lawsuit has been filed by several nursing home facilities in response to the ruling, arguing that arbitration is a cheaper option than bringing cases to court.
The ruling will also improve medical treatment and better nourishment options to residents of long-term care facilities.Under the new regulations, nursing homes must provide residents with a care plan within the first 48 hours of being admitted into the facility.
If your loved one has shown signs of abuse or neglect after being admitted to a long-term care facility, contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Schmidt Kramer. Our legal team has experience in fighting for the rights of the elderly and will provide you with a free consultation and review your case to see if you or your loved one is entitled to compensation.