Moultrie Observer

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February 27, 2013

Colquitt County seniors weigh in on arbitration proposal

MOULTRIE — Eight Moultrie-area residents traveled this week to the Georgia State Capitol to oppose proposed legislation that would make it easier for long-term-care facilities to sign patients and families to required arbitration in disputes over care.

The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 202, would require residents and their families to sign an arbitration agreement giving up the right to a trial by jury in cases of disputes between patients and long-term-care homes. Under SB 202, advocates fear, individuals and their families will be pressured into signing blanket arbitration agreements in advance with only the information the facility chooses to give them, making an informed decision difficult.

“Moving a loved one into a long-term-care home is one of the hardest decisions any family can make. That’s no time for homes to be trying to get families and patients to sign papers that tie their hands when it comes to future legal disputes,” said Carl Dasher, president of the Moultrie Chapter of AARP. “We went to the Capitol because AARP fights on issues that matter to you and your family. We told our representatives to vote ‘no’ on arbitration.”

Dasher and others from the Moultrie area also urged passage of House Bill 78. The proposed legislation would make it a felony for someone to “knowingly and willfully” exploit a disabled or elderly resident. It would also increase the number of people who must report such abuse.

The AARP delegation from Moultrie and Norman Park met with state Sen. Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge, and state Reps. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, and Sam Watson, R-Moultrie.

Making the trip with Dasher were Moultrie residents Brenda Joyner, David Pittman, Lannie M. Walker and Eva Yates; and Norman Park residents J.B. Johnson and Randell Wilson.

All traveled to the Capitol as part of AARP’s Three Weeks at the Capitol lobbying effort. The annual campaign, which begins in late February and continues until mid-March, gives AARP residents from around the state the opportunity to speak to their representatives at the Capitol on issues that matter most to them.


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