Tuesday, January 12, 2016

“alternative dispute resolution” agreements are voluntary ... they can’t be used as a bar NH admission.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is weighing changes in the way binding arbitration agreements are presented when admitting people to nursing homes that accept federal payments.   

The agency’s proposal, part of a much broader rule to reform long-term care, would require nursing home operators to explain arbitration clauses in plain language. They would have to tell incoming residents and their caregivers that the “alternative dispute resolution” agreements are voluntary and that they can’t be used as a bar to admission.

Nursing homes would also have to point out that by signing such agreements, families are giving up their right to go to court.  States Want Some Agreements Banned    The CMS proposal does not go nearly far enough for 16 state attorneys general who recently signed a letter urging the agency to ban all arbitration agreements that are signed before a dispute arises. Arbitration can be a useful way to resolve disputes, they say, but only if both sides are on equal footing.