Kia Franklin

Senate Committee Hearing on Arbitration in Nursing Homes (Updated)

**Updated** 4:49 pm Wednesday June 18th

View the Webcast of the Hearing Here

The Senate Judiciary committee is hearing testimony on the nursing home arbitration bill (S. 2838) right now! Here's more info:

The Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Special Committee on Aging will hear arguments both for and against the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act this Wednesday.

The joint committee will meet at 10:30am in the Senate Dirksen Office Building to discuss the pros and cons of prohibiting arbitration agreements as a prerequisite to nursing home admission. Many nursing home and healthcare agencies worry that, without arbitration clauses, Medicaid money could end up being spent on legal fees and settlements instead of treatment and quality improvement. Arbitration opponents argue that the practice is unfair and strips the elderly of their right to a trial.

Among those testifying: Alison Hirschel, president of the National Citizen's Coalition for Nursing Home Reform; Kelley C. Rice-Schild, executive director of the Floridian Nursing & Rehabilitation Center; lawyer Ken Connor; and law professor Stephen J. Ware. Aging Committee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) will preside over the hearing.

I can't get into live coverage of the hearing. But go here to access more information. Later today, they should make the witness testimony available. More to come.

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Jun 18, 2008 in Arbitration | Civil Justice | Legislation | Pro-Civil Justice Reforms
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David Kurth
Burlington, WI
*Testified about the death of his father due to negligence on the part of the nursing home which then forced his family into arbitration.

Alison Hirschel
National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
East Lansing, MI
*testified in favor of legislation to ban pre-dispute binding mandatory arbitration in nursing home contracts. talked about the slanted system that arbitration provides which tends to favor nursing homes.

Kelley C. Rice-Schild, CNHA
Executive Director
Floridean Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
*testified as a nursing home director on the problem with obtaining affordable insurance in Florida

Ken Connor, Esq.
Wilkes & McHugh, PA
Washington, DC
*trial attorney and American Association for Justice Member testified about the prevalence of abuse in nursing homes - and the attempt by corporations to escape accountability

Stephen J. Ware
Professor of Law
University of Kansas
*testified about the cost-effectivness of nursing home arbitraton and the need to have patients sign arbitration agreements before a dispute occurs.

Posted by: A Smith | June 18, 2008 1:57 PM

This is great. Many nursing homes will close from ruinous, bogus, and pretextual litigation. By its ultra low payments, the government has these facilities in a choke hold, and their lips are turning blue.

Thank a lawyer if you have to change the diaper of a 200 lb man in your home, with little kids holding their noses, pointing, and asking why.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | June 18, 2008 6:24 PM

"Pop-pop made a stinky, again."

When every household hears that from a toddler, thank a lawyer.

The lawyer is bringing hell to every household of America. Why? Because the third Lear jet needs an update of its interior.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | June 19, 2008 8:11 AM

"Thank a lawyer if you have to change the diaper of a 200 lb man in your home, with little kids holding their noses, pointing, and asking why."

Much better that the 200 lb man be starved down to 80lbs and then die of malnutrition, right? That's what happened in a nursing home case I was involved in. (OK, he was only 180lbs when he went in.) The nursing home ignored his doctor's recommended nutrition plan, fed him only once a day, and the man died of malnutrition and dehydration.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | June 19, 2008 10:33 AM

SC: This is probably the most despicable, disgusting, and callous comment you've ever made. Have you ever cared for an elderly loved one? It's an honor. How you've debased the experience seriously sickens me. What little respect I once had for your zeal is now completely, absolutely gone.

My grandmother, who passed away in December, went to a nursing home for less than one week after she had her second stroke. Because the quality of care there was so terrible and because she was so sad, our family had to figure out what to do. My cousin took leave from grad school to care for her with the help of a nurse we hired to come in for 12 hours a day. It was an incredibly grueling and expensive experience, but we were lucky our family was large enough to make the changes necessary to care for our grandmother. Other families simply can't do this. They must rely on strangers to care for their loved ones. Are you seriously proposing that when that trust is broken, and a loved one dies or is seriously injured, these families should be denied the right to decide how and where to they'd like to settle their greivances?

I'm going to post the testimony of one of the witnesses at this hearing. I want you to read it, dig deep to find a shred of human decency and compassion. Maybe then you'll see that the world doesn't revolve around lawyers and that just because an issue involves the use of the courts doesn't mean that lawyers should be the focal point of the issue.

Posted by: Kia | June 19, 2008 11:02 AM

Kia and Justinian: You have my sincere sympathy about the tragic events you both describe. The Supremacy has tried and experienced most things once, if briefly. So he knows what you underwent.

The lawyer runs government, so your stories document his failure coming and going. He fails to provide and, fails to supervise. The government, the wholly owned subsidiary of the criminal cult enterprise, does nothing well on purpose. The lawyer has injured you and your loved ones far more than he has injured the Supremacy. Yet, your cult indoctrination is so good? You find nothing bad to say about this traitor.

What does the lawyer do well? Seek the rent. The regulations that apply to long term care facilities may stack higher than your heights. These are worthless and interfere with proper care. They violate the half dozen Supreme Court decision granting presumptive validity to clinical decisions. These regulations are unfunded mandates and slavery. These consume the care that you complain was missing.

This is intentional. The lawyer does not want any money spent on elder care, only on lawyer rent seeking. So the care required has to get carried out by very high functioning family members. This takes out their very high productivity, and distresses them with task they have no training nor desire to carry out. When it comes to litigation, there is plenty of money. Every penny taken from these facilities by the land pirate comes from the care of people just like your loved one. Thank a lawyer if the facilities are choking to death. You can visit the missing care and the missing nutrition inside the third Lear jet of the land pirate. The wife just got the green light to redo the decor.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | June 19, 2008 8:53 PM

You pose the issue of what this government does well. What it can do well, with respect to this issue, is pass a better law regarding what corporations can require of consumers and others (like nursing home residents) for access to their goods/services. This means passing a law restricting corporations from requiring people to sign away their right to access the courts when they get defrauded, injured, or their family member gets killed by corporate misconduct.

Now, as to who runs the government, you say it's the lawyers. Some say it's corporate special interests. Others say it's the corporate special interests and their highly paid corporate lawyers. Ugh. I'd rather focus on who should be running the government: the people. You know, of the people, by the people, for the people?

And when the people run the government, they'll demand that laws get passed and enforced that protect them against abusive corporate practices that threaten our economic security and endanger human lives.

Posted by: Kia | June 20, 2008 1:29 PM

Kia: You did not allow comments on the testimony of the son of a mistreated patient. Explain how litigation draining the funding for 100's of people would prevent the recurrence of his father's mistreatment.

Show us how you could run a dive motel on Medicaid's $125 a day a bed, let alone 3 shifts of difficult care. Go ahead yell at staff making $8 an hour. See what happens. They go to McDonalds. That is a job not involving 1) diluvial body fluids, 2) getting pummeled by violent demented patients who cannot get restrained because lawyers forbid it, 3) continual bashing by entitled, bullying families, always threatening litigation and making comments about one's foreign accent. The staff turnaround in nursing homes is 100% a year. Tell us how you would get people to show up.

Consider the alternative to suing people. If you sue Kindred, they will calculate. They will conclude this business has lots of effort for no profit, and close. Others will learn from its experience and do the same. You know better than others the consequences. How much would those highly productive people have been willing to pay extra a day to get adequate care, so they could return to work? Also, when the family pays out of pocket, providers listen when the family complains about conditions. Government does nothing well. Imagine giving vouchers to families, instead of cash to providers. Make the family the payer.

Liability deters the entire enterprise and not just misconduct.

The testimony is anecdotal. It should be rebutted by anecdotes of the horrors of abusive litigation. If the lawyer and the judge have immunity, the nursing home should as well. The nursing home provides a valuable service measured by the increase in family income. The lawyer is a rent seeking paper shuffler, worthless as now operating. Every goal of every law subject is in utter failure. Lawyers may learn to run their own business adequately before bossing others at the point of a gun.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | June 21, 2008 8:57 AM