Arbitration act 'bad public policy,' NCAL's Kyllo says

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The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living have voiced opposition to the recently reintroduced Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act. Members of both the House and Senate have submitted the legislation for congressional consideration.

On Wednesday, Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) brought back their version of the arbitration act. Their action comes barely a week after Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) reintroduced a version of the bill in the House.

"We believe that the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act is a misguided attempt to restrict and weaken the Federal Arbitration Act," said Dave Kyllo, Executive Director of NCAL. "We firmly believe this legislation and other efforts to undermine the FAA are bad public policy and a step in the wrong direction," he said in a statement. The Federal Arbitration Act was first enacted in 1925.

The bill would prohibit the use of "any pre-dispute arbitration agreement between a long-term care facility and a resident of such facility... entered into either at any time during the admission process or at any time after the admission process." In the event of a dispute, nursing homes are not prohibited from asking for an arbitration agreement, though residents or plaintiffs are under no obligation to agree to its use.