FAIR Act Bill Has Passed the House, Now Headed to the Senate
On Friday, September 20, lawmakers in the House voted 225-186 to pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), with the help of many supporters who look to hold long-term care doers responsible for abuse and neglect. The bill is designed to end forced pre-dispute arbitration in contracts between consumers and corporations, including nursing homes, long-term care centers and assisted living communities.
Moving ahead, the FAIR Act could:
- ban businesses from including mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts between employees and consumers (including nursing home residents)
- void current agreements that have already been signed for conflicts and disputes that arise
This passage is a significant milestone in the House as members of Congress have long been pushing for legislation that would ban companies from requiring consumers (and workers) to resolve disputes in private rather than in front of a judge and jury. While the bill is likely to meet a group of tough resistors in the Senate, the House’s vote has set a new precedent for the type of justice abused and neglected long-term care customers and their families have been seeking.
Nursing Home Abuse Victims Deserve Their Day in Court
In July 2019, CMS presented a final rule allowing nursing homes to use binding arbitration agreements. Arbitration agreements make it easier for abusive and neglectful facilities to cover up pressure sores, medication overdoses, preventable disease outbreaks, malnutrition, sexual assault, or even the death of a resident. Although the rule states that facilities must inform patients that they aren’t required to sign and homes must explain the contract to the resident “in a form and manner that he or she understands,” no one should be fooled into or compelled to sign one.
Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect fare better when allowed to plead their case in front of a jury. And ultimately, abusive and neglectful nursing homes should have to face a court and public scrutiny for any wrongdoings.
If your family is seeking long-term care and confronted with a contract, we strongly suggest that you ask if it contains a mandatory arbitration agreement or any relative language, and that you talk to a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney before signing it. In the event that abuse should take place against your loved one, you will want to position the accountability of those actions on the responsible party and help prevent the mistreatment from happening again by letting others know via a public trial.
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We have experience in interpreting nursing home agreements and know when our clients are being misguided or mistreated. Our consultations are always free, confidential, and handled by one of our skilled and experienced attorneys.
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Also read: Never Sign A Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement