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New York Times Calls for Ban on Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements

On July 25, 2016, the New York Times published a powerful editorial urging the federal government to ban nursing home use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements. According to the Times “corporations of all sorts love forced arbitration because it overwhelmingly tilts in their favor and shields them from liability. But in the process, it denies justice to consumers, investors, patients and others who find they have no legal recourse when wronged.” The Times reports that arbitration is especially unfair to victims of abuse or neglect in nursing homes, who are asked to waive their rights at admission, a very stressful time for residents and before any dispute has arisen.

The Times’ message was aimed at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that regulates nursing homes. In 2015, CMS published proposed changes to federal nursing home regulations that would make significant changes to requirements that have been in place for 25 years. Along with other advocacy organizations, CANHR has urged CMS to include a ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements in the final regulations and to adopt other reforms that would strengthen residents’ rights and care standards. The Times reported that CMS is expected to issue its final regulations in September.