Monday, November 17, 2008

Preventing Forced Mandatory Arbitration

S. 2838, the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008, is aimed at preventing nursing homes from forcing new patients to sign contracts agreeing to mandatory arbitration in the event of any disputes.

The legislation, introduced in April by Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), is a narrowly targeted measure that would protect nursing home residents, one of our nation’s most vulnerable populations, from losing the right to hold long-term care facilities accountable in court for negligent and abusive care.

Currently, many facilities require residents or their responsible family members to sign contracts that include pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements, meaning that any dispute between the resident and the facility will automatically be subject to arbitration.

By agreeing to the contract before a dispute ever arises, they are unwittingly signing away their constitutional right to have their case heard by an impartial judge or jury.

Additionally, arbitration agreements require that all parts of the legal process remain confidential. As a result, long-term care facilities are often not held publicly accountable for their substandard care.

Following is a list of those who testified. Click the names to read their presentations.

David Kurth, Burlington, WI
Alison Hirschel, President, National Citizen's Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, East Lansing, MI
Kelley C. Rice-Schild, CNHA, Executive Director, Floridean Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Miami, FL
Ken Connor, Esq., Wilkes and McHugh, PA, Washington, DC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's good to see any effort to protect nursing homes. The nursing home lobby is so powerful, it's a wonder anything can be done at all.

Hopefully, America will wake up and demand a total reform of the nursing home industry.