When Joe Biden is sworn into the office of the President of the United States, there are going to be some major changes. Indeed, he and President Trump clashed on many of the most important issues facing the country. However, one very important issue that got relatively little attention was how a Biden administration might impact Maryland nursing home arbitration agreements.
Arbitration is a way for litigants to settle a claim out-of-court. Instead of filing a case in court and letting a judge or jury decide the outcome, in arbitration, a neutral arbitrator hears the evidence and issues a binding decision. While this may seem good in theory, it often works in favor of nursing homes, who get to choose the forum and are intimately familiar with the rules of arbitration. Additionally, there are generally very few ways to appeal an arbitrator’s decision, limiting a resident’s ability to obtain any form of judicial review. For these reasons, and others, many nursing home residents end up at a major disadvantage when they are forced to arbitrate their claims.
During the Obama administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services precluded nursing homes from asking residents to sign pre-admission arbitration contracts. The reasoning behind this was that nursing home residents and their families may not be in a position to negotiate the terms of the agreement, and would likely just accept them, even if they are against their interest.
However, during the Trump administration, this rule was reversed, and nursing homes were once again allowed to use pre-admission arbitration contracts. However, President-Elect Joe Biden has indicated that he believes the right thing to do is to go back to the Obama-era rule, precluding pre-admission arbitration contracts. According to the Biden Harris campaign website, President-Elect Biden plans to “Reinstate the Obama-Biden Administration’s ban on forced arbitration agreements, that limit residents’ ability to seek recourse in the case of harm or death resulting from facility negligence.” Of course, given the realities of politics, it remains to be seen if the rule prohibiting pre-admission arbitration contracts will come back, but it does give some hope to families dealing with instances of Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect.
Importantly, even absent the Obama-era rule, not all nursing home admission contracts are valid. Those interested in learning more should reach out to a dedicated Maryland nursing home injury lawyer for assistance.
Is Your Loved One Being Forced to Arbitrate a Maryland Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Claim?
If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home or long-term care facility, and you are concerned that they are being abused or neglected, reach out to the dedicated injury advocates at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we work closely with our clients and their families to hold negligent and abusive nursing homes accountable for the harm they caused. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 800-654-1949 today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you unless we can help you recover compensation for what you’ve been through.