Calling on Medicare & Medicaid to Ban Long-Term Care Facilities from Using Unfair Arbitration Clause

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and a broad coalition of Senators in calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to prohibit the use of unfair pre-dispute arbitration clauses in contracts with long-term care facilities like nursing homes. These types of clauses make it far more difficult for victims to seek fair redress after they’ve been wronged.

Right now, CMS is taking steps to reform its requirements for long-term care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. And while the agency has proposed new protections for residents who live in those facilities, and for their families as well, it has not adequately addressed the problem of binding, pre-dispute arbitration clauses—where consumers waive their legal rights before any harm has actually occurred.

“The decision to admit yourself or a loved one to a long-term care facility can be difficult,” wrote the lawmakers in a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “All too often, only after a resident has suffered an injury or death, do families truly understand the impact of the arbitration agreement they have already signed…we strongly urge CMS to fully protect residents and their families by banning pre-dispute arbitration clauses in long-term care facility contracts.”

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David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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