Provider groups say new ban on arbitration 'unnecessary'

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Parkinson: The ban “clearly exceeds CMS’s statutory authority.”
Parkinson: The ban “clearly exceeds CMS’s statutory authority.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services first major overhaul of long-term care regulations since 1991 garnered nearly 10,000 comments after its initial proposal. Many addressed the rule's most polarizing provision: a ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements.

Provider groups slammed the ban as overstepping the CMS regulatory limits. It will go into effect with the rest of the final rule on Nov. 28.

“That provision clearly exceeds CMS's statutory authority and is wholly unnecessary to protect residents' health and safety,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. 

LeadingAge officials agreed, saying “properly structured” arbitration agreements executed separately from the admission agreement had the group's support as a quick, cost-saving measure to avoid drawn-out litigation. 

The additional costs and amount of staff training the new rule will require also are unwelcome additions.

“It seems like [the rule] formalizes what many facilities are already doing, and takes it to the next level,” Cynthia Morton, MPA, executive vice president of the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care, told
McKnight's. “They seem to have a good intent, but they'll take up a lot of time and resources.”