Lawmakers Say Pre-Dispute, Binding Arbitration Clauses at Places Like Nursing Homes Make it More Difficult for Victims to Seek Redress When Wronged
(Washington, D.C) —Today, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and a broad coalition of 33 Senators in calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to outlaw the use of unfair pre-dispute arbitration clauses in contracts with long-term care facilities like nursing homes. These types of clauses make it nearly impossible for victims to seek fair redress after they’ve been wronged.
Right now, CMS is taking steps to reform its requirements of long-term care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. And while the agency has proposed new protections for residents who live in those facilities, and for their families as well, it has not adequately addressed the problem of binding, pre-dispute arbitration clauses—where consumers waive their legal rights before any harm has actually occurred.
“The decision to admit yourself or a loved one to a long-term care facility can be difficult,” Murray and the Senators wrote in a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “All too often, only after a resident has suffered an injury or death, do families truly understand the impact of the arbitration agreement they have already signed…we strongly urge CMS to fully protect residents and their families by banning pre-dispute arbitration clauses in long-term care facility contracts.”
You can read a copy of the Senators’ letter to CMS here. It was also signed by Senator Al Franken (D-MN), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill,), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Martin Heinrich (D-N. Mex.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).