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    New York Nursing Home Attorneys Pleased With Ruling About Arbitration Clauses

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    The attorneys at Lever Injury Law discuss the new ruling made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.

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    Most families do hours of careful research, a number of visits, and interviews when they go about the business of selecting a nursing home that they feel fits their loved ones needs. Once selected, they want to believe that the care facility is doing everything in their power to provide excellent care. However, both resident complaints and reports have shown that this frequently isn’t the case and residents are being put at risks.

    In fact, an anonymous questionnaire revealed that  more than 50% of all Certified Nursing Assistants admitted that they had at least one time in their career abused a patient and another study shown that almost a third of all nursing homes were issued a citation for a violation of a safety standard that could have caused a resident serious harm. The most common forms of abuse include slapping, kicking, excessive use of restraints, and verbal abuse.

    Until now, most of the 40% of all residents that reported abuse were prevented from taking the home to court and instead had to handle the issue through arbitration due to an arbitration clause in the nursing home contract. Arbitration is not always ideal because if the ruling is binding, as most are, there is no way for the abused patient to appeal the decision. But thanks to a new ruling by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nursing homes that receive funding from Medicaid or Medicare are no longer allowed to include these clauses in their contracts.

    The hope is that by removing these contracts, nursing home owners and managers will be encouraged to enforce the necessary safety standards and to remove abusive employees from their posts because the consequences could be much more severe. Many believe that the ruling is much needed and that it will help to protect future residents from harm.

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    David Lever



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