Nursing Home Lawyer Washington, D.C
When a family member enters a nursing home, you will likely be given a large amount of paperwork to review and sign. The process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when you come to a part regarding mandatory arbitration agreements. These are becoming increasingly common with nursing homes. What most people don’t realize is that they protect the nursing home more than they protect the elder resident.
Unfortunately, with all of the pressure of getting a loved one into the home, these pages are often misunderstood or unread altogether. Later on, if something does happen, you and your family member could face enormous legal hurdles to overcome.
Should I sign an arbitration agreement with a nursing home?
When you sign an arbitration agreement for a nursing home, it means that if an issue is not resolved amicably – for example your loved one is sexually assaulted at the facility – you agree to take your dispute to an arbitrator. You will not be able to have a nursing home lawyer in Washington, DC file a lawsuit against the facility regardless of what happened or how liable the nursing home might be.
An arbitration agreement for a nursing home does not support the interests of the resident’s of their family members. Arbitration can be costly and will likely require a nursing home lawyer. Oftentimes, the family members of the residence will be responsible for some or all of the arbitration costs (which can cost several hundred dollars per hour). Whereas, when a case goes to court, the family may pay little to no fees depending on the case.
Furthermore, by taking a nursing home facility to court, there will be a detailed public record of the incident. This can be very damaging to the facility and their parent company (which most facilities have). It can also help to develop new rules and laws on nursing home care.
Arbitration is held privately and typically protected by confidentiality agreements. A nursing home could make several mistakes over the course of many years and if the disputes are only resolved through arbitration, no one will ever know about it.
Should you sign an arbitration agreement with a nursing home? In short, no you should not. The American Health Care Association does not support mandatory signing of arbitration agreements; however, some nursing homes will force this upon family members or deny a room to the patient. If you’ve signed an arbitration agreement without thinking it over, there may be an opt-out provision that allows you to retract your decision. Keep in mind that if the agreement includes this provision, you may have 30 days or less to change your mind.
Enforcing Arbitration Agreements
Most nursing homes are covered by Medicare and Medicaid. With this in mind, some lawyers have argued that when a facility requires an elder to relinquish their right to the civil justice system, it is a direct violation of Federal Regulations (see: 42 U.S.C. 1396r(c)(5)(A)(iii) and 42 C.F.R. 483.12(d) (3).
Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have said that a facility could face various consequences if they try to force a resident, or family member, into signing an arbitration agreement that violates a federal law. If you are in this situation, you might want to call a nursing home lawyer for further advice. Whether or not you would be able to sue will depend on your circumstances; however, a Washington, DC lawyer might be able to advise you on who you should contact to make a formal complaint.
If you or a family member has been mistreated, neglected, or abused while residing at a nursing home, you should call a nursing home lawyer Washington, D.C clients trust – regardless of an arbitration agreement being in place. Call Brown Kiely LLP now.