Moving Into a Nursing Home? You Will Soon Have More Rights
By Kluger Kaplan October 10, 2016
By Aimee Picchi
Finding a long-term care facility can be a stressful process. Among the issues to consider are not only the cost and quality of care, but what recourse you have if something goes wrong.
Until now, some long-term care facilities have included arbitration clauses in the contracts that residents and their families are required to sign when admitted. If a conflict arose, even regarding severe neglect, abuse or death, nursing-home residents or their loved ones were blocked from taking the facility to court.
But as of November 28, consumers will have that right. That’s when a new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will bar pre-dispute arbitration clauses in nursing-home contracts.
It’s a decision that George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, calls “a tremendous advance in helping ensure effective protections for nursing home residents.”
Families and seniors don’t always think about the kind of recourse they might have if harm comes their way. They are often already at a stressful moment in their lives when they’re looking for a long-term facility, says Bruce Katzen, an attorney with the law firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine who represents seniors in financial abuse cases. Some seniors move into nursing homes after an injury or illness, when scrutinizing a contract isn’t necessarily practical.
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