A new RealClearHealth opinion piece by Chris Carmona highlights the dangers that frivolous litigation poses to the country’s health care system and supply of crucial labor.

Carmona writes that a nurse from the Philippines has sued her employer, CommuniCare, as well as Worldwide HealthStaff, the firm that recruited her. The nurse alleges that by holding her to her signed contract and requiring her to repay immigration costs for breaching her contract, these companies are committing her to “indentured servitude.”

Nurses frequently enter into contracts that include repayment provisions to their employer in the event they choose to quit before their agreed-upon date. Such provisions exist due to the time-consuming and expensive nature of legally immigrating nurses. Without such provisions, there would be no guardrails against someone manipulating the process to receive all-expenses-paid immigration to the U.S. before promptly quitting the job. It would also result in recruitment firms no longer bothering to bring highly qualified professionals to the U.S. to serve patients.

The case that Carmona highlights is only a recent example in a trend of foreign-educated nurses using human trafficking laws to sue their employers over these common contract provisions. Aside from making a mockery of laws meant to prevent serious crimes, Carmona writes that such litigation could “[deal] a massive blow to the American healthcare system” by “decimating foreign nurse recruitment.”

With America’s worsening nursing crisis, frivolous litigation that could upend an essential pathway for more nurses to work in hospitals could seriously threaten the quality of care that patients expect and deserve. As Carmona notes, “it would be devastating for a vital nursing pipeline to be undermined by outlandish legal theories.”

Read Carmona’s full piece here.