House subcommittee passes arbitration bill

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Rep. William Delahunt
Rep. William Delahunt
Nursing-home providers continue to lobby against the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee in late July. 

“Pre-dispute arbitration agreements are a viable legal option for long-term care consumers and providers, and their use should not be eliminated by passage of overzealous legislative remedies,” said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, in a statement following the bill's passage. 

The legislation (H.R. 6126) would render invalid or unenforceable pre-dispute arbitration agreements between residents and long-term care facilities. It was introduced by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and sponsored by several other members of the House. 

Providers believe that arbitration pacts help to avert costly lawsuits that funnel needed government revenues away from resident care. 

It was not clear, as of press time, whether the legislation would go to the House floor for a vote. A Senate version of the bill (S. 2838) was not considered for an August markup in the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) introduced the Senate version. 

“Pre-dispute arbitration agreements are an excellent way for patients and providers to control costs, resolve disputes, and speed resolutions of conflicts,” Yarwood said. 

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