But more than 50 labor, legal, medical and consumer organizations have told the government that’s not enough. They want these pre-dispute arbitration agreements banned entirely. Thirty-four U.S. senators and attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia also have called for banning the agreements.
“No one should be forced to accept denial of justice as a price for the care their loved ones deserve,” says Henry Waxman, a former congressman from California. Arbitration agreements keep the neglect and abuse of nursing home residents secret, Waxman says, because the cases aren’t tried in open court and resolutions sometimes have gag rules.
“None of the systemic health and safety problems that cause the harm will ever see the light of day,” he says.
The proposed federal regulation would require nursing homes to explain these arbitration agreements so that residents or their families understand what they’re signing. It would also make sure that agreeing to arbitration is not a requirement for nursing home admission.
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