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US Senators Lead Move to Eliminate Unfair Arbitration Categories
US Senators Lead Move to Eliminate Unfair Arbitration `

Let’s face it – nursing home arbitration contracts are absolutely unfair.  There is nothing fair about them  whatsoever.  The United States Senate is leading a charge to end this unfair practice once and for all.  Please support the senators who are protecting the rights of our elderly.

If you have a nursing home abuse claim or a nursing home neglect claim, we can help.

Nathan Hughey

The text of the letter is as follows:

 

Andy Slavitt

Acting Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Department of Health and Human Services Room 445-G, Hubert H. Humphrey Building 200 Independence  Ave.,  S.W.

Washington, DC 20201 Dear Administrator Slavitt:

We are writing regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed revisions to the requirements for long-term care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs . We commend CMS for recognizing the need for reforms to ensure the highest quality of care for residents of long-term care facilities, including many nursing homes. CMS’ s proposed rule rightly acknowledges the significant negative impact of pre-dispute forced arbitration on residents-many of whom are seniors or are disabled. However, we remain concerned that the criteria CMS proposed to improve resident awareness of these agreements does not adequately protect the rights of residents and improve safety. Therefore, we write to urge CMS to prohibit the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration clauses in long-term care facility contracts.

 

The decision to admit yourself or a loved one to a long-term care facility can be difficult.

Unfortunately, families often have limited choices due ‘to cost and location constraints. Yet, long­ term care facilities sometimes force and often encourage potential residents and their families to waive their legal rights before any harm has occurred and to agree to a dispute resolution forum that may be biased in favor of the facility. Once signed, pre-dispute  arbitration decisions are  binding, with a very  limited  right to appeal an arbitrator’s  decision.  Given the consequences  of this decision, pressuring potential residents to make an on-the-spot decision about whether they want to arbitrate any potential future dispute is unfair to residents and their families during the overwhelming and paperwork-intensive  nature  of the  long-term  care facility  admission process.

 

While we applaud CMS for taking steps in the proposed rule to help ensure a more level playing field in the arbitration process, including prohibiting facilities from conditioning admission on acceptance of binding arbitration, we remain concerned that the pre-dispute arbitration agreements pe1mitted by the proposed rule could be abused and result in deprivation of important rights for residents of long-term care facilities. For example, while CMS has attempted to establish protections to make sure long-term care facility residents understand the consequences of signing away the right to litigate, we are concerned that these protections are insufficient. During the admissions process, prospective long-te1m care facility residents and their families are rightly thinking about a loved one’s health, wellbeing, and quality oflife, not their preferred method for resolving a hypothetical, future legal dispute.

 

Furthermore, certifying resident understanding of the pre-dispute agreement, while well­ intentioned, may make it more difficult for victims to seek fair redress after an injury arises. All too often, only after a resident has suffered an injury or death, do families truly understand the impact of the  arbitration  agreement they have already signed.

 

For residents oflong term care facilities  and their  families, only an arbitration agreement that is entered into after an incident has occurred and after a resident  has considered  all their legal rights can ensure that residents and their families are not deprived of their rights. Therefore, we strongly urge CMS to fully protect residents and their families by banning pre-dispute arbitration clauses in long-term care facility contracts.

Sincerely

United States Senators

 

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