Legislation that would prohibit the practice of forced arbitration is now being reviewed by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, a move providers strongly reject.
The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act (H.R. 1423), which is slated for markup Tuesday afternoon, would prohibit pre-dispute arbitration agreements that force arbitration of future employment, consumer, antitrust or civil rights disputes. The bill was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
Clif Porter II, senior vice president of government relations for the American Health Care Association, said the organization does not support any bill that aims to ban the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements.
“Banning arbitration agreements would eliminate a fair and efficient legal remedy that provides benefits to patients and providers. Skilled nursing facilities are just one of many healthcare providers that use pre-dispute arbitration,” Porter said in a statement to McKnight’s. “Residents with legitimate claims are awarded reasonable damages, oftentimes equal to the amount that would be awarded under litigation. We strongly oppose efforts to ban this long-used, effective procedure for residents and families to pursue legal recourse.”
The federal government and long-term care providers have often clashed over arbitration agreements. Last week, two nursing facilities asked a federal court to declare a rule that prohibits LTC facilities from requiring residents to sign a binding arbitration agreement as a requirement for being admitted or to continue receiving care as unlawful.