A petition has recently been drafted by a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization that bans nursing homes from using arbitration agreements. This petition has been addressed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), urging them to cease the use of pre-dispute, forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts. The petition has been swiftly gaining support, and as a public citizen, you can add your voice to the thousands of others who have already stood up for this critical issue.
CMS has recently disclosed its proposed revisions to the federal nursing home regulations. Included in their proposed rule, CMS has asked for input on the issue of pre-dispute, forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.
The definition of arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute—such as a dispute pertaining to inadequate care, abuse or neglect—is settled by one or more arbitrators who take the place of a jury made up of community members and decide the outcome. “Pre-dispute” arbitration means that the consumer must comply with arbitration prior to any dispute that arises.
Pre-dispute arbitration agreements force citizens to make a decision without any information at all regarding the dispute, even in circumstances of alleged severe neglect, critical injuries or death. This decision must be made at the time of admission, a very stressful time for loved ones and their families, when it is difficult to foresee or even imagine the event of critical harm or inadequate care. Once signed, pre-dispute, forced arbitration agreements nullify individuals’ constitutional right to a trial by jury.
If you believe that CMS should ban the use of pre-dispute, forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts as part of its revisions to the federal nursing home regulations, sign the Public Citizen’s petition here.