Nursing home arbitration agreements – which have become mandatory for admission for many facilities across the nation – restrict patients’ access to the court system in the event of disputes arising as a result of poor care or criminal acts. They are a serious problem, as they serve to curtail the damage awards patients and their loved ones might otherwise receive.
Now, they are a topic of discussion among Congressional leaders in the House of Representatives. In a recent session, a number of Democratic leaders implored their colleagues for a solution that would overhaul this private system of justice that often favors the nursing home. The problem is arbitrators generally consider the nursing home their clients.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), asked his colleagues to pass a bill he had recently introduced that would prohibit firms from pushing civil rights lawsuits (including nursing home abuse lawsuits, employment discrimination lawsuits and others) into an arbitration forum. Johnson said arbitration clauses are especially damaging for women, minorities and vulnerable populations, such as those in nursing homes. Continue reading →