Yesterday, an agency within the Health and Human Services Department issued a new rule that bars any nursing home using federal funds from requiring residents to enter into arbitration agreements.
The move will provide residents and their families with more robust legal options, especially when in cases of elder abuse, nursing home neglect, sexual harassment and wrongful death.
Arbitration agreements are viewed by nursing homes as a way to reduce legal costs by keeping disputes out of court. In exchange for forfeiting their legal rights by signing one, residents gain access to a desired facility and get the care they need.
However, many residents and their families are negatively affected because arbitration clauses limit their ability to get justice in cases of wrongdoing.
Following numerous reports of rampant abuse and neglect in nursing homes across the nation, calls to end government funding for nursing homes requiring arbitration agreements rose, resulting in the new rule which will be effective this November.
The rule will provide more transparency, helping prospective residents and their families to choose a safe and healthful nursing home. It also “restores a fundamental right of millions of elderly Americans…their day in court.”
If you or a family member has suffered abuse or neglect in an Iowa nursing home or other care facility, contact Attorney John T. Hemmminger for help. John has represented nursing home residents and their families for over 30 years in personal injury or wrongful death cases. Contact our offices today for a free consultation regarding your legal issue.
Source; New York Times, “U.S. Just Made It a Lot Less Difficult to Sue Nursing Homes”, By Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery, September 28, 2016
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