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Time for a Check-Up: Are Your Arbitration Agreements and Admissions Procedures Up to Date for Your Skilled Nursing Facilities?
May 07, 2020
During this turbulent period, now is the time to evaluate your facility's admission procedures and paperwork, especially your arbitration agreement. You want to make sure that in the event of litigation they will withstand strict scrutiny by the court. Failure to do so may have dire consequences that will leave your facility vulnerable.
If your admission procedures and paperwork are not sufficiently robust, a court will not enforce your facility's arbitration agreement. That is what happened recently in Gay v. Saber Healthcare Group, L.L.C. when the Court of Appeals of North Carolina refused to enforce an arbitration agreement. Ms. Gay's mother was transferred to Saber's advanced care facility, and upon her mother's admission, Ms. Gay executed the paperwork, which included an arbitration agreement. Following her mother's death, a lawsuit was filed, and Saber moved to enforce its arbitration agreement. However, the trial court refused to enforce the arbitration agreement because when it was signed, only the signature page of the arbitration was shown. Also, the language of the arbitration agreement conflicted with some of the other admissions paperwork.
The holding in Gay demonstrates how important having updated admissions paperwork and properly trained admissions personnel. Your facility can avoid the outcome in Gay by taking a few simple steps, including:
  • Having an updated arbitration agreement;
  • Having admission procedures in place to ensure all admission documents are properly presented and signed;
  • Properly training your admission staff on those admission procedures;
  •  Ensuring that your admission documents do not contain conflicting terms; and
  • Having counsel periodically review your admission procedures, admission training, and admission paperwork, including the arbitration agreement, to ensure that in the event of litigation they will withstand the strict scrutiny of the court.
These are all steps that Spilman's Nursing Home Practice Group can help your facility with today. If you have any questions about your facility's admission procedures and paperwork, including your facility's arbitration agreement, or wish to discuss training of your personnel, please feel free to reach out to Spilman's Nursing Home Practice Group.
Health Care Law Alexander L. Turner, CIPP/US