Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act Moves Closer to Passage

16 September 2008 Publication
Author(s): C. Frederick Geilfuss II Nathaniel M. Lacktman John S. Lord Jr Shirley P. Morrigan Michael A. Okaty Lawrence W. Vernaglia

Legal News: Senior Living

The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008 moved closer to passage as the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (Senate Judiciary Committee) approved the bill (S 2838) by voice vote on Thursday, September 11, 2008. The bill would ban the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts. The United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary (House Judiciary Committee) approved a companion bill (HR 6126) in July of this year. The legislation would invalidate pre-dispute arbitration agreements between long-term care facilities and their residents, as it would make void and unenforceable any pre-dispute arbitration agreements between a long-term care facility and any resident of the facility.

Prior to Thursday’s vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee received two letters: one from the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, a coalition of organizations including AARP, urging passage of the bill so as to put “consumers on a fair footing” with health care providers; and one from a similar coalition of senior, caregiver, and taxpayer advocacy groups such as the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, advocating opposition to the bill because it harms U.S. seniors and establishes “a dangerous precedent for the entire U.S. business community by eliminating the reasonable, intelligent use of arbitration agreements.” The bill is now available for consideration by the full Senate, but no debate is currently scheduled.

Foley & Lardner LLP will continue to monitor the progress of the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008 and provide further updates when appropriate. Access prior Foley alerts about the Act here: http://www.foley.com/publications/pub_detail.aspx?pubid=5002 and http://www.foley.com/publications/pub_detail.aspx?pubid=5200. 

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Janice A. Anderson
Chicago, Illinois

Fred Geilfuss II
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Nathaniel M. Lacktman
Tampa, Florida

Christopher S. Linde
Orlando, Florida

John S. (Jack) Lord, Jr.
Orlando, Florida

Shirley P. Morrigan
Los Angeles, California

Michael A. Okaty
Orlando, Florida

Robert E. (Rob) Slavkin
Orlando, Florida

Lawrence W. Vernaglia
Boston, Massachusetts