Many nursing homes insert mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts with elderly patients. They do not do so for the benefit of the elderly.
If you read the fine print on almost any standard contract a large company makes a consumer sign, you will most likely find a clause that any dispute between the consumer and the company concerning the contract must be submitted to arbitration.
Increasingly, nursing homes and other elder care facilities are also inserting these clauses in their contracts.
Companies are quick to note that arbitration is normally faster and cheaper than going to court.
However, consumer advocates and elder law attorneys point out that these clauses do not necessarily benefit consumers. In reality, arbitration can make it more difficult for consumers to prevail and remedies that might be available in court are sometimes not available in arbitration.
The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog reports that a court in Arizona recently refused to enforce the arbitration clause in one nursing home’s contract in “Arizona Court Overturns Home Arbitration Agreement.”
In this case, the man who signed the contract on behalf of his mother did not have any legal authority to bind her to arbitration. He was not her power of attorney.
Going further, the court also signaled that such a ruling could apply more broadly. According to the court, the arbitration clause could be seen as an unenforceable contract of adhesion.
As the article notes, in many states consumers have a legal right to strike out the arbitration clauses before signing the contracts.
If you have any questions about nursing homes and arbitration in your state, consult with an elder law attorney before you sign.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Feb. 2, 2016) “Arizona Court Overturns Home Arbitration Agreement
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.
Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!
I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!