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Can nursing homes in Kentucky make arbitration mandatory?

People in Lexington who enter a nursing home naturally expect that they will receive quality care. Unfortunately, instances of nursing home abuse and neglect do happen. When they do, residents or their families may want to pursue legal action. However, can a nursing home make arbitration mandatory as a condition of admittance?

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a measure that would remove rules that keep nursing homes from making mandatory arbitration a condition that potential residents must agree to before being admitted to the nursing home. The Obama administration overhauled the rule as it stands now, but these changes have not yet been made effective, due to ongoing litigation.

Under the proposed rule, nursing homes must provide potential residents with information that provides an explanation about arbitration agreements, and the agreement cannot contain excessive legal jargon. Moreover, under the proposed rule, arbitration agreements cannot keep or encourage the parties to the agreement from consulting government agencies.

Those who are in favor of the proposed rule claim that nursing home residents should not be forced to give up their right to filing a lawsuit if they are subjected to nursing home neglect or abuse. However, opponents of the proposed rule claim that arbitration is a quicker and easier process for all involved.

Time will tell whether this proposed rule will be enacted. Until then, victims of nursing home abuse and neglect should make sure they understand their legal rights. An attorney can explain what the current rules and laws are when it comes to mandatory arbitration or filing a lawsuit so their clients can make informed choices.

Source: ABA Journal, "Nursing home regulation banning arbitration as a condition of admission may be removed," Stephanie Francis Ward," June 16, 2017

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