CMS Prohibits Forced Arbitration Agreements for Nursing Home Patients
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a final rule banning nursing homes from requiring residents to sign binding arbitration agreements as a condition for admission. However, facilities can still use the provisions if patients are informed they are not required to sign them in order to receive care, although that limitation also must be explicitly stated in the agreement.
- The rule further requires nursing homes to explain any such arbitration agreements to patients “in a form and manner that he or she understands.” According to CMS’s comments in a related fact sheet, these requirements ensure that “no resident or his or her representative will have to choose between the resident obtaining the skilled nursing care he or she needs and signing an agreement for binding arbitration."
- The final rule also requires any facility that resolves a dispute with a resident through arbitration must retain a copy of the signed agreement and the arbitrator's final decision for five years, and make those documents available to CMS upon request.
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Thomas D. Anthony is the former chair of FBT's Health Care Industry Team. He focuses on counseling health care entities on corporate transactions, regulatory compliance and joint ventures.