The Department of Health and Human Services has released a new rule that prevents nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding from requiring residents to agree to arbitration of disputes. This is a big win for consumers. As more and more contracts contain clauses requiring arbitration of disputes the less likely it is that the public will become aware of bad companies and industries that severely hurt consumers.
Arbitration is a faster and more economic way to resolve cases. In arbitration, the parties submit their case to an arbitrator. The process is more relaxed and systemized than the court system. The parties present their case in an office building instead of in a courtroom. An arbitrator will hear the evidence and make a decision. This process can take months instead of years. Going through this process keeps the litigation secretive, though. The public is rarely going to learn about these cases so a company could be constantly engaging in horrible behavior and no one may know about it. Consumers are better protected by an open litigation system.
With the change in this law and as more and more people become dependent on the nursing home system we will likely see an increase in awareness of bad nursing homes. Consumers will then be better informed on where to have their family members receive care.