Before a resident is admitted to a nursing home, a contract must be signed. The contract outlines both parties’ rights and responsibilities, as well as setting out some ground rules in the event that the resident or their family sues the nursing home. Over the past decade, more and more nursing homes have included arbitration clauses in these contracts, forcing residents to resolve all disputes through a third-party arbitration company rather than use the court system.
In these contracts, the forum of the arbitration is often chosen by the nursing home, and the outcomes of disagreements have historically favored nursing homes. However, in a very important new rule announced by the Department of Health and Human Services, nursing homes that require residents and their families to submit to arbitration rather than the court system will no longer receive federal funding. It is estimated that this new rule will affect 1.5 million nursing home residents nationwide.
Since the nursing home industry has benefited greatly from these arbitration clauses, the industry has reacted negatively to the new announcement. In fact, one spokesperson attacked the Department of Health and Human Services’ legal authority to implement such a rule, saying that the rule “clearly exceeds” the agency’s authority. He also claimed that the rule was “wholly unnecessary to protect residents’ health and safety.”
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse in Maryland
By accepting a resident, a nursing home takes on a legal duty to provide that resident with a certain level of care. This includes keeping the resident safe and also requires that the nursing home provide the resident with a basic level of care. If this duty is violated, the resident or their family may be able to seek compensation though a nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect lawsuit.
The presence of an arbitration agreement in a nursing home contract may act to prevent a resident or their family from filing a lawsuit in a court of law. However, arbitration clauses are not always viewed in the most favorable light by courts, and not all clauses are legally binding. Anyone interested in filing a case against a nursing home should consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney.
Have You Been a Victim of a Negligent or Abusive Nursing Home?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. This may even be the case if you or your loved one signed a contract containing an arbitration clause. The skilled Maryland injury attorneys at the personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of experience holding negligent and abusive nursing home employees and management responsible for their actions. Call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case. You will not be charged for our services unless we are able to help you or your loved one obtain financial compensation.
More Blog Posts:
Nursing Home Resident Dies After Developing Gangrene from Untreated Bedsores, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 7, 2016.
Nursing Home Resident Kills Fellow Resident in Shooting, Later Commits Suicide, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 23, 2016.