Arbitration battle heating up

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More groups are urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ban pre-dispute arbitration clauses as the publication of the agency's final rule for nursing homes draws near.

In a late July editorial, the New York Times bashed the rule's provisions on arbitration as taking an “easy” stance on the issue. The newspaper said officials “basically condone” the clauses as long as providers explain them and don't make them a condition of admission.

Private arbitration should still be allowed in skilled nursing facilities, the NYT said, “but only after a dispute arises.”

Senators, state representatives, state attorneys and consumer advocacy groups all have called for an end to pre-dispute arbitration clauses in recent months.

As of press time the new final rule for nursing homes, the first in 25 years, was slated for release  sometime in September.