For Immediate Release

October 3, 2016                                                                                                                 

Contact: Abby Matienzo, Communications Manager

                  703-942-5711 #230

NAELA Attorneys Celebrate Ban on Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements for Nursing Homes

The Administration’s ban will ensure nursing home residents subject to abuse or neglect maintain their constitutional right to a trial by jury.

Washington, DC — The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) celebrates the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ban long-term care facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid funds from entering into pre-dispute arbitration agreements with residents.

NAELA has advocated along with many other consumer and aging organizations in calling for a ban as part of CMS’s massive overhaul of the requirements long-term care facilities must meet to get access to Medicare and Medicaid dollars. Historically, many facilities required binding arbitration clauses as a condition of admission, robbing residents who have been victims of abuse or neglect of their constitutional right to a jury trial.

“Vulnerable individuals and their families, often under extreme duress to get nursing home care, cannot fathom they will be subject to the opposite: physical violence, sexual abuse, or extreme neglect when they arrive. But, sadly it does happen,” said NAELA President Catherine Seal, CELA, CAP.

Arbitration resolves disputes away from the public eye by a private decision-maker instead of by a judge or jury. “Arbitration can sometimes have its advantages, but the cost and benefits of resolving a matter outside the court system, a constitutional right, should only occur after a dispute arises as CMS has done here,” said Seal.

Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit

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