One of the sneaky tricks that health care officials do is bind their patients and their families into arbitration agreements. Nursing homes are especially bad about this. What an arbitration agreement does is forbid the two parties from hearing about an abuse situation in court. Instead, it gets settled in private through an arbitration committee.
Nursing homes say this settles problems faster, but the payouts are frequently much less and the patients may have to use much of their settlement to pay off the private arbitrator. Worse, the results of these investigations rarely get out into the public eye. This can let a nursing home hide their misdeeds for a long time.
But there is a growing movement in the legislature to totally ban the practice of arbitration agreements in nursing homes. 34 U.S. Senators and attorneys general have called for a ban. The federal government is presenting rules that would regulate how nursing homes present arbitration agreements to patients so they can be more aware, but this isn’t enough.
Nursing homes should not be able to hide behind the screen of a legal contract in these life-or-death situations. When things go wrong, it is in the public interest to know what went wrong and why so they can make informed decisions. The public also deserves to know when an employee of a nursing home or the entire culture of a nursing home isn’t performing their duty of care.
If you believe that your loved one is being mistreated in their nursing home, seek help immediately. Call Schenk Smith Trial Attorneys for a free consultation about your situation. We have helped many people bring their elder abuse case to a real court where their stories can be heard in public. Call today.