Arbitration bill 'misguided,' lobbying group claims

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Lobbyists for the long-term care industry on Friday voiced strong objections to the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, a new piece of legislation that would prohibit the use of arbitration agreements at the time of a resident's admission to a long-term care facility.

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living argued that arbitration agreements allow nursing home and assisted living facility staff to concentrate on providing care to residents. They help ensure that Medicaid money will go towards improving care instead of paying off legal fees and settlements, the group claims.

But requiring prospective residents to sign pre-admission arbitration agreements intrudes upon their right to “access the civil justice system for redress of their potential claims,” said Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Mel Martinez (R-FL), who introduced the bill last week. Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of AHCA, called the bill “misguided.”