Are Maryland Nursing Home Arbitration Decisions Final?

When someone is admitted as a resident in a Maryland nursing home, they are likely presented with pre-admission paperwork containing an agreement to arbitrate. These agreements, if enforceable, require that any Maryland nursing home abuse or neglect claims arising from a resident’s relationship with the facility are resolved through arbitration rather than through the court system.

In previous posts, we have discussed the pros and cons of resolving claims through arbitration from the resident’s perspective. It is important to note that, by agreeing to arbitration, Maryland nursing home residents give up many of their rights. Most notable of the rights that are waived is that of access to the court system and to appeal an adverse judgment.

For the most part, nursing home arbitration decisions are final. However, if the arbitration was not properly conducted, one of the parties involved in the arbitration may have been deprived of a statutory or constitutional right. In these situations, an arbitration decision can be reviewed by a court. However, establishing that a decision is entitled to review can be difficult. Recently, a state appellate court refused to reconsider an arbitration award that was issued against a nursing home.

In that case, a nursing home resident allegedly died while in the care of the defendant nursing home. According to an industry news source, the resident suffered from pressure ulcers and was prescribed a particular low-air mattress. The order was placed on July 4, 2012, but the mattress was not delivered until July 12, 2012. Apparently, during that time, nursing home staff members did not rotate the resident’s body and left her idle in a wheelchair for extended periods. The woman developed sepsis and died a few months later from complications related to her pressure ulcers.

The resident’s family brought a claim against the nursing home, and proceeded through the arbitration process. Ultimately, the arbitrator awarded the family $1 million in damages for the loss of their loved one. The nursing home attempted to appeal the arbitrator’s decision to the state’s appellate court, making several arguments including that the award was excessive. The nursing home also argued that it was prejudiced by the arbitrator’s decision not to allow the facility extra time to present additional witnesses. However, the appellate court determined that the arbitrator did not infringe on any of the nursing home’s rights when it came to the $1 million figure, and dismissed the facility’s appeal.

Do You Have a Loved One in a Maryland Nursing Home Who May Be at Risk?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home and believe that they are not being treated with the dignity, respect, and compassion that they deserve, contact the dedicated Maryland nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we proudly represent nursing home residents and their families in cases involving Maryland nursing home abuse or neglect. We work closely with families to ensure that they are awarded full and fair compensation for their losses. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

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