Westlaw News

Q&A: Public Justice's Paul Bland on CMS's nursing home arbitration rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a new rule last month barring nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds from requiring patients to agree to arbitrate any claims against them, rather than bring lawsuits in court. The rule, set to take effect Nov. 28, will not affect existing arbitration clauses, which are widely used in the industry, but will prohibit their use going forward.

Paul Bland, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit consumer, civil rights and environmental advocacy firm Public Justice, has represented plaintiffs challenging mandatory arbitration agreements, including nursing-home patients and has testified on the issue before Congress and state legislatures. He spoke to Reuters on Oct. 6 about how mandatory arbitration clauses have harmed patients, and how the new rule will help. Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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