Nursing Home Residents Still Vulnerable to Abuse

People entering nursing homes need to know that all reasonable safeguards are in place to ensure quality care. But federal rules to be finalized soon fail to hold nursing homes truly accountable to patients, their families or the law.

At issue are arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts that require consumers to settle any disputes that arise over products or services through private arbitration rather than through lawsuits. Corporations of all sorts love forced arbitration because it overwhelmingly tilts in their favor and shields them from liability. But in the process, it denies justice to consumers, investors, patients and others who find they have no legal recourse when wronged.

Forced arbitration is especially problematic in nursing home disputes, which are generally about care, not money. (Medicare and Medicaid pay many nursing home bills.) Typical claims involve neglect or abuse leading to broken limbs, dehydration and untreated pain.

– The New York Times

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