For a brief moment last year, it seemed as if nursing home arbitration agreements might be a thing of the past. That’s because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule barring any nursing home that accepts federal money from CMS (which is virtually all nursing homes) from requiring mandatory arbitration agreements during the admissions process. That was supposed to take effect in November.
However, a federal judge in Mississippi granted an injunction against implementation of that rule, at the request of a nursing home industry trade group. The CMS quietly released a memo in December indicating it wouldn’t enforce the arbitration rule so long as the injunction was in place. At this point, there remains uncertainty because it isn’t clear how the Trump administration, which oversees CMS, will handle this issue.
So in the meanwhile, courts across the country continue to weigh in. Prior to the injunction, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that an arbitration agreement signed by an adult son on behalf of his father was not binding on his father. The son did not have power of attorney and thus lacked authority to sign the documents on his father’s behalf, and thus his father wasn’t required to have his claim handled by an arbitrator. Continue reading →