Pre-dispute arbitration agreements are under attack again by U.S. lawmakers.
Reps. Linda Sanches (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act (H.R. 5326) last Thursday. The proposed legislation would prohibit long-term care facilities from requiring or soliciting residents to enter into pre-dispute, mandatory, binding arbitration agreements.
It has been referred to the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees.
Clif Porter II, senior vice president of government relations for the American Health Care Association, said the organization “strongly oppose[s]” the effort.
“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 health care providers that use pre-dispute arbitration,” Porter said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
The Long Term Care Community Coalition and National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care both applauded the effort.
Similar legislation passed the House in September — with House Democrats voting heavily in favor of the bill. It has since headed to the Republican-controlled Senate and has been referred to Senate Judiciary committee.
Schakowsky also has introduced a proposal that would require skilled nursing facilities to meet minimum staffing requirements. The effort has drawn pushback from providers.