Minnesota Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements
Nursing homes cannot seek pre-dispute arbitration agreement as condition for admission. Pursuant to federal regulations 42 CFR 483.70(n), binding arbitration agreements. (1) A facility must not enter into a pre-dispute agreement for binding arbitration with any resident or resident’s representative nor require that a resident sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of admission to the LTC facility.
Nursing homes attempt to get arbitration agreements many of which limit the rights of person who is injured or even killed due to the neglect of the facility. Anything that limits your rights is not a good idea and a really bad idea if it reduces the exposure to the owners of the facility for mistakes made during resident cares. The arbitration agreement acts as a disincentive to provide the highest quality of care, supervision and services practicable.
Arbitration agreements usually do not allow you to litigate your case to a jury and may limit the parties that can hear the dispute. There is an inherent conflict in a system where the same arbitration association hears all the disputes for the nursing home since they deal with the injured plaintiff only once but are selected by the nursing home in every case in the arbitration agreement. If the arbitration awards go against the facility they can simply decide to choose another company to hear the disputes, this could make the arbitration association or arbitrators they use dependent on facility awards, hence creating a bias to a party which is supposed to be neutral.
Here are the Conditions When There Are Signed Arbitration Agreements
Pursuant to 42 CFR 483.70(n)(2), if, after a dispute between the facility and a resident arises, and a facility chooses to ask a resident or his or her representative to enter into an agreement for binding arbitration, the facility must comply with all of the requirements in this section.
(i) The facility must ensure that:
(A) The agreement is explained to the resident and their representative in a form and manner that he or she understands, including in a language the resident and their representative understands, and
(B) The resident acknowledges that he or she understands the agreement.
(ii) The agreement must:
(A) Be entered into by the resident voluntarily.
(B) Provide for the selection of a neutral arbitrator agreed upon by both parties.
(C) Provide for selection of a venue convenient to both parties.
(iii) A resident’s continuing right to remain in the facility must not be contingent upon the resident or the resident’s representative signing a binding arbitration agreement.
(iv) The agreement must not contain any language that prohibits or discourages the resident or anyone else from communicating with federal, state, or local officials, including but not limited to, federal and state surveyors, other federal or state health department employees, and representatives of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, in accordance with §483.10(k).
(v) The agreement may be signed by another individual if:
(A) Allowed by state law;
(B) All of the requirements in this section are met; and
(C) That individual has no interest in the facility.
(vi) When the facility and a resident resolve a dispute with arbitration, a copy of the signed agreement for binding arbitration and the arbitrator’s final decision must be retained by the facility for 5 years and be available for inspection upon request by CMS or its designee.
Contact Attorney Kenneth LaBore Before of After Signed Arbitration Agreements
It is best to have a lawyer review any agreement, especially a nursing home arbitration agreement before the resident or their legal representative signs, however if there is an injury contact an elder abuse attorney to review the contract before agreeing to terms as well. There are requirements in the law that may effect the enforceability of all or part of the arbitration agreement and there are situations where you may be able to contest the agreement or some of its terms.
If you have questions about your rights and an arbitration agreement or to discuss a nursing home injury call Kenneth L. LaBore for a free consultation at 612-743-9048 or 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.