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UPDATE: New Congressional Bill Would Ban Forced Arbitration Clauses In Nursing Home Contracts

Clauses Prevent Families From Suing a Facility in Court for Neglect and Abuse of a Loved One

Last December, two members of Congress introduced a bill that would ban skilled nursing facilities from requiring residents to sign forced arbitration agreements before being admitted. These types of contracts protect a nursing home if your loved one suffers neglect or abuse in their facility. By signing, you’ve already agreed that an outside private arbitrator will decide the facts in your case – instead of a court of law.

John Dalli, a partner at the law firm Dalli & Marino, LLP has spoken out against this practice before:

“Nursing homes are often understaffed, creating environments ripe for neglect and abuse. Forced arbitration clauses allow these facilities to avoid a lawsuit for damages if a resident is injured or harmed under their care. This effectively eliminates nursing home residents’ rights to have a jury of their peers hear their case.”

The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act was introduced on December 5, 2019 by Reps. Linda Sánchez of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois in response to a recent change enacted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Last July, the CMS again allowed nursing homes to utilize arbitration agreements with residents, reversing a ban by the Obama administration in 2016.

Upon introduction of the bill, Rep. Sanchez said:

“I still remember the day we moved my late father into a nursing home. My family and I were focused on the quality of care and range of services the facility would provide him. We were not focused on the language in the agreement that would limit his rights should something go wrong. Under this bill, families will no longer have to worry about losing their right to a day in court.”

So What’s a Family To Do?

In the meantime, what’s a family to do when they are faced with signing a contract in a time-sensitive situation? Salvatore Marino, a partner in the law firm Dalli & Marino LLP shares this advice:

“Nursing homes know families will likely just sign a contract to make sure their loved one gets into that facility. But ask a lawyer to quickly review the agreement before signing it. If you emphasize the urgency of the situation, they should be able to give you a fast, objective assessment.”

Contact Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

John Dalli, Salvatore Marino, and Jeanne RamassoSince 1996, Dalli & Marino, LLP has helped families recover millions of dollars in cases of neglect at nursing homes or other elder care facilities. Our team serves Suffolk and Nassau Counties (Long Island), Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County.

Please call our office today if you have questions about a loved one in a nursing home that may have experienced one of these issues at 1-888-465-8790 [Toll-Free] or by completing the CASE EVALUATION Form on our Contact Page.