Nursing Home Residents Can Now File Lawsuits in Court

Nursing Home Residents Can Now File Lawsuits in Court

A federal agency that controls a large amount of Medicare and Medicaid funding decided to stop providing funds to nursing homes that force residents to use arbitration and forbid the right to go to court.

Arbitration is a technique used outside a court room where an unbiased third party makes a decision to resolve a problem between two other parties. Nursing homes are placing rules and regulations in contracts detailing residents are not allowed to take legal action in court.

“This is a huge step forward for the rights of everyday citizens. I applaud the agency for this new rule and encourage other agencies to follow, especially those that govern banks and mortgage companies,” Troy Doucet, the firm principal here, said. “It’s time wrong doing comes out of the secret shadows of the arbitration clauses.”

Over a million Americans live in nursing homes. Many agree to abide by arbitration policies simply because their initial need for health aid is bigger than their future need to take legal action in court. Nursing homes forcing residents to use arbitration have prevented serious claims of sexual harassment, abuse and wrongful death from court.

Many nursing home companies prefer to force the residents to use arbitration because it is more cost efficient. Government agencies and lawyers believe nursing homes force arbitration to keep legal matters from destroying good reputations. Taking away a person’s right to take legal action in court is irrelevant to why a person decides to move into a nursing home. Nursing homes are supposed to protect a person’s health and provide a safe atmosphere, not dictate a person’s legal actions.

Last spring, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began creating a rule that would prevent credit card companies from forcing consumers to agree to arbitration practices. Since the turn of the century, arbitration regulations have started to appear in a variety of contracts including student loans, employment contracts and cellphone contracts.

 

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