New Federal Law Gives Nursing Home Patients the Right to Sue

Kenneth Charette      Oct. 27, 2016

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently issued a rule which affirmatively grants nursing-home residents the right to sue nursing homes in court for issues related to their patient care. In late September, CMS issued a rule that effectively bars any nursing home or assisted-living facility that receives federal funding from requiring that its residents resolve any disputes in arbitration instead of in court (i.e., the rule prohibits “pre-dispute” binding arbitration agreements). In other words, the rule does not permit nursing homes to incorporate a “binding arbitration clause” into their patient care agreements.

This new rule goes into effect on November 28, 2016 and obviously has the potential to greatly impact the current dispute resolution framework in place at many long-term care facilities.  Accordingly, nursing homes should consider reviewing their patient care agreements in order to ensure that they comply with the new rule. For additional information about nursing home arbitration agreements, read Maraleen D. Shields’ blog post from earlier in the year, Nursing Homes Arbitration Agreements Should Be Used Cautiously.

The Attorneys at Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba have extensive experience advising hospitals, practitioners and other healthcare providers on a wide range of healthcare law matters, including regulatory compliance issues. For more information, please contact Kenneth Charette or any other attorney in our HealthCare Group.

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