Arbitration agreements are common throughout the health care industry and are often required to gain admission into nursing homes across the country. Many families are unaware that they are, in effect, signing away many of their legal rights by signing one. If your loved one is neglected or abused causing injury or death in a nursing home or other care setting, an arbitration agreement can prevent you from getting justice.
In response to the growing problem of nursing home abuse and complaints regarding the arbitration process, a proposed federal regulation would require nursing homes to explain these arbitration agreements so that residents or their families understand what they’re signing. Much to the consternation of the American Health Care Association, it would also make sure that agreeing to arbitration is not a requirement for nursing home admission.
Opponents to the proposed regulation, including The American Health Care Association, feel that long term care facilities are being singled out among the larger community of health care industry providers, that also require arbitration agreements to treat patients. They argue that arbitration is more efficient for both sides than going to court and that consumers tend to get an expedited award.
However, advocates for the proposed changes disagree. They argue that these ‘expedited awards’ are about 35 percent lower than if the plaintiff had gone to court. They also point out that the bill for the arbitration process, which can climb into tens of thousands of dollars, is typically borne by the plaintiff. The growing sentiment is that no one should be forced to accept denial of justice as a price for the care their loved ones.
Source: National Public Radio, “Suing A Nursing Home Could Get Easier Under Proposed Federal Rules”, by Ina Jaffe, accessed November 16, 2015.
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