Great news for nursing home residents and their families. Because of a new federal administrative rule, Nursing Homes that accept Medicaid and Medicare (basically all of them) can no longer force their patients into arbitration.

This sweeping news reverses the course of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings upholding arbitration in nursing homes that had altered the course of Oklahoma state law.

Recent Court Rulings had favored arbitration

Oklahoma state law had already banned the use of arbitration agreements in nursing homes in Oklahoma. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not violate federal law that governed some arbitration clauses. An Oklahoma Appeals Court then ruled that a nursing home arbitration agreement was enforceable if it had language that federal law, not Oklahoma law, governed the agreement.

That ruling immediately cast doubt on the future of legal rights for nursing home patients and familes. Because all a nuring home would have to do from that point on would be to change the language in their standard intake agreements that federal arbitration law applied.

Thankfully, this new administrative rule from the Department of Human Services will change that.

According to the New York Times, this new rule will affect nursing homes with 1.5 million patients.