Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses: Pros and Cons
If you’re helping a parent move into a nursing home, watch out for binding arbitration clauses in all that paperwork you’ll fill out, some experts warn. You may sign one without realizing it—and you may not like it.
That said, they may not be all bad. These clauses say you’ll use mediation rather than a lawsuit to work out disputes. Kaiser Health News reports on some pros and cons (granted, more cons than pros):
For one thing, [mediation] can be pricey. In addition to hiring a lawyer, the patient or family generally has to pay its share of the arbitrator’s fee, which may come to hundreds of dollars an hour, says Paul Bland, a senior attorney at Public Justice, a public interest law firm based in Washington. …
Arbitration can also benefit patients and their families, [Greg Crist, a spokesman for the American Health Care Association, which represents 11,000 long-term-care facilities,] says. Claims are typically resolved more quickly than court cases, he says, so attorney costs are lower and patients can retain a larger portion of any financial settlement.
Then again, that financial settlement may be lower than it would have been in court, the post points out. Arbitration agreements also help clamp down growing liability costs, Crist says.
Would you sign such a clause? Or have you?
Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.