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U.S. TO BAR ARBITRATION CLAUSES IN NURSING HOME CONTRACTS

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US TO BAR ARBITRATION CLAUSES IN NURSING HOME CONTRACTS

As reported in the New York Times yesterday, an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services handling more than $1 trillion in Medicaid and Medicare funding issued a game changing rule last Wednesday. The rule bars any nursing home receiving federal funding from requiring its residents and resident families to sign contract clauses settling disputes in arbitration. The new legislation promises to deliver crucial protection to more than 1.5 million individuals and keep nursing home negligence in the public eye.

In the past, our legal system has protected the nursing home industry, reducing the industry's legal fees and concealing the atrocities committed by employees and other residents. Two cases chronicled last November in the New York Times were initially blocked from court by arbitration. The first case involved a 100 year-old woman found strangled in her bed by her roommate and the second involved a 97 year-old who died of a head wound at a nursing home in Murrysville, Pa.

Not surprisingly, the nursing home industry reacted strongly against the ruling. Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive of the American Health Care Association, said in a statement last Wednesday the change in arbitration contract clauses was "wholly unnecessary to protect residents' health and safety."

Maureen Brady of McShane & Brady Law would disagree. "This recent news sheds light on the very serious nature of nursing home abuse that is present in this country. The move by the government to ban arbitration clauses reflects the significant value associated with such abuse."

Read the full article from the New York Times.

If you or someone you love has been a victim of nursing home negligence or violence, please contact McShane & Brady Law today at 816-888-8010.

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