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Groups Urge Public, Federal Agency to Stand Up for Seniors’ Rights

August 31st, 2015

By: Christine Hines


Groups Urge Public, Federal Agency to Stand Up for Seniors’ Rights

Thousands have signed a petition to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect nursing home residents from predispute binding mandatory (or forced) arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts. Forced arbitration clauses strip residents and their families of their right to sue if they are harmed by nursing home operators. The petition responds to a CMS rulemaking proposal on long term care facilities that includes a discussion on the widespread use of forced arbitration in nursing home contracts. The agency is accepting public feedback on its proposal. The petition, which eventually will be delivered to CMS, specifically calls on the agency to eliminate forced arbitration in nursing home contracts with residents. Read stories that show how these restrictive terms further harm injured residents.

Various organizations are promoting the petition on their websites:

“Please add your voice to the thousands of others who have already spoken out on this critical issue!” – The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

“Imagine having a loved one abused or neglected by the very place entrusted with their care, only to find out that you can’t hold the institution accountable in court.” – Alliance for Justice

“The nursing home industry should no longer be allowed to force victims into a rigged system because they signed a document during the stress and confusion of admission to their facilities.” – American Association for Justice

“Forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts must be prohibited in order to restore the rights of residents and their families.” – Public Citizen

“[T]he very last thing we should be doing is allowing policies that remove this [nursing home] industry’s financial incentive to maintain safe facilities.” – ThePopTort.Com

Petition to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

We, the undersigned, call on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to prohibit nursing homes corporations, as a condition of receiving federal funding, from using pre-dispute mandatory (or forced) arbitration clauses in contracts with residents of long term care facilities, their families or other healthcare decision makers. Forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts cannot be fixed or improved. CMS must safeguard this vulnerable population from having to sacrifice integral consumer protections and constitutional rights in order to receive necessary nursing home care and services.

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