Who: CMS, The federal agency that controls billions in Medicare and Medicaid disbursement.
What: Wants to repeal the ban on nursing home arbitration agreements.
Why: Nursing home arbitration agreements prevent injured residents from suing the negligent nursing home in a court of law.
Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements May Be Here to Stay
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently implied in a press conference that the ban on nursing home arbitration agreements may be repealed. Arbitration agreements in nursing homes were banned by CMS because they are inherently unfair and most elderly residents do not understand what they are signing. Arbitration agreements are serious contracts that waive a resident’s right to a civil jury trial, a right that is protected by the 7th Amendment. CMS recognized this violation of a residents 7th Amendment right to a civil trial by jury and appropriately banned these arbitration contracts. Now that the Trump regime is slashing federal agency regulations, it appears that CMS may repeal this progressive step towards protecting nursing home residents.
Why Arbitration Agreements Harm Nursing Home Residents
It is no secret that nursing home negligence causes catastrophic injury and wrongful death in residents. As nursing home abuse attorneys, the only way to right this wrong is through the civil justice system. When nursing homes act badly, the proper recourse is through public proceedings in a court of law, as guaranteed by the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights. This ensures accountability for the negligent nursing homes. Arbitration agreements remove the right to a jury trial, and instead, place the proceeding behind closed doors in a private arbitration. This allows nursing home abusers to continue committing their offenses without the public growing any wiser.
When is the Repeal on the Nursing Home Arbitration Ban Coming?
No one can know for certain. However, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has hinted that the repeal may be soon and swift. For obvious reasons, consumer rights and patient advocacy groups are outraged.
A knowing waiver of a right to a Constitutionally-protected right to jury trial may be appropriate between two savvy parties with independent counsel. However, it is inherently unfair between a corporate owned nursing home chain and an unrepresented elderly nursing home resident. For this reason, we hope CMS keeps the ban in place and does not bow to special interests that represent the nursing home lobby.