Capitol Correspondence - 07.22.19

CMS Rolls Back Nursing Home Arbitration Ban

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ANCOR is sharing this article by Skilled Nursing News because many people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) of all ages reside in nursing homes.

As written by Skilled Nursing News:

“The federal government on Tuesday finalized a rule that allows skilled nursing operators to use arbitration agreements with their residents […].

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) struck something of a compromise with the new arbitration rule, preventing operators from using them as a prerequisite for admission, while also requiring providers to inform residents of their rights to pursue additional methods of dispute resolution.

CMS will also bar operators from including arbitration language that bans residents or their families from contacting federal, state, and local authorities.


The use of binding arbitration agreements was a prolonged source of controversy in the space, with the industry — and, on Tuesday, the federal government — positioning the contracts as less costly methods of dispute resolution for both operators and residents than lawsuits.


When the initial ban took place, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) sued CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services, classifying the Obama administration’s actions as an overreach of federal authority. While it is still reviewing the final rule, the initial reaction from the nursing home trade group was cautiously positive.


Patient advocates, meanwhile, have criticized binding arbitration agreements as instruments that take away residents’ rights to pursue a trial by jury, with non-profit Public Citizen calling the then-proposed reversal as a ‘shameful setback for the rule of law and for elderly protection.’”