Several weeks ago, nursing home residents across the country won a big victory when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will be instituting a ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes that accept government funding.
These agreements have long been used by nursing homes to deny the constitutional right of a trial by jury to nursing home residents who have suffered abuse and neglect. Even if residents are severely injured or die as a result of a nursing home’s negligent care, these agreements protect nursing homes from having to go into court and defend their actions. HHS actually acknowledged that these agreements allow nursing homes to keep their abuse and neglect hidden from the public eye.
To get nursing home residents and their families to sign these agreements, nursing homes typically include them in their admission paperwork, sometimes even requiring them for admission. HHS pointed to the unequal bargaining power that exists when these agreements are given to residents or their families.
For years, the attorneys at Jehl Law Group have worked with residents and their families, and we know that people are at their most vulnerable when they are entrusting their own lives or the life of a loved one to a nursing home. Until now, nursing homes have been allowed to take advantage of that vulnerability. HHS will put a stop to this across the country next month with the new policy banning these agreements.
This ban is above and beyond what HHS initially planned. Last year, it announced that they were going to put additional restrictions on these agreements, but, after collecting feedback from the public this past year, HHS decided to institute a complete ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements.
For years, the attorneys at Jehl Law Group and other firms across the country have urged a ban on these agreements. Our attorneys have argued before judges, talked to legislators, and urged policy-makers to eliminate these agreements. It’s no surprise that when HHS announced the ban, they cited to the public outcry in favor, including thirty-four U.S. Senators and sixteen state attorney-generals who urged a ban on these agreements.
Unfortunately, this new ban will only apply moving forward, so we urge anyone that signed a pre-dispute arbitration agreement, to contact Jehl Law Group. The agreements are sometimes labeled alternative dispute resolution (ADR) agreements. Our attorneys have years of experience successfully fighting these agreements to protect the constitutional rights of our clients. Two months ago, our attorneys watched a jury award our clients a $30 million verdict. We fought for six years to make sure our clients got their day in court to expose the abusive, neglectful, and fraudulent practices of a nursing home here in Memphis. We are excited to see the government taking a step to ensure that more people get their day in court so that nursing homes will be held responsible for their actions in full-view of the public.