Michael Williamson of Bloomberg News reported on the forthcoming new Medicare rules on mandatory arbitration agreements in nursing home admission paperwork. The Office of Management and Budget started reviewing the final rule, which more than 15,000 long-term care facilities must implement to qualify for the Medicare program. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the proposed rule with the arbitration proposal in July 2015.
“Under the proposed version of the rule, if a nursing home includes binding, or pre-dispute, arbitration agreements in their admission contracts, the facility must explain the agreements and the patients must acknowledge they understand them.”
Consumer advocates, legal experts, and families of loved ones have all argued that pre-dispute mandatory arbitration is illegal, unfair to patients and their families, only benefits nursing home owners, and violates resident’s constitutional rights. Also, arbitration will not deter the waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer funds for poor quality care.
The CMS “was right to recognize how problematic forced arbitration is” in the proposed rule, said Sarah Rooney, director of regulatory affairs at the American Association for Justice. However, the proposal “would simply green-light the nursing home industry to continue using forced arbitration as long as certain disclosures are made.”