Nursing home resident’s right to sue now in doubt

cmsIn what had been heralded as a major shift in federal public policy, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule, to take effect on November 28, that would prohibit pre-dispute arbitration clauses in nursing home admissions contracts. Because these provisions are so prevalent, they have functionally taken away a nursing home resident’s right to sue the nursing home over issues such as abuse and neglect. Banning their use would allow residents to bring suit against nursing homes unimpeded by arbitration. Many have suggested that this will lead to an explosion of suits against nursing homes.

The nursing homes appear not to be giving up without a fight. In what appears to be high irony, a trade association representing nursing homes has filed a lawsuit in Mississippi attempting to stop the ban on arbitration clauses from taking effect next month.

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