Nursing Homes Pressure Patients to Forgo Lawsuits

Elderly required to sign away their right to sue
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2008 2:39 PM CDT
Experts say binding arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts are becoming the norm, and claims of poor treatment are on the rise.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Nursing homes are pushing patients to give up the right to sue, writing binding arbitration clauses into standard contracts for admission, the Wall Street Journal reports. The homes say the practice lets them concentrate resources on care instead of costly litigation, which soared in the '90s, but critics charge that vulnerable elderly patients often don't understand what they're signing away.

A recent industry study found that claims of poor treatment in nursing homes are on the rise. Two senators have introduced legislation to stop homes from using contracts that compel arbitration. The practice is unfair "given the unequal bargaining position between someone desperate to find a place and a large corporate entity like a nursing home," one tells the Journal.