The federal government recently entered the fight against nursing home neglect and abuse. Specifically, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, issued a rule against arbitrating these claims. Any nursing home that receives Medicare and Medicaid funding will be subject to the rule. The agency oversees around $1 trillion in federal funds.
Previously, such facilities may have required residents to agree to an arbitration clause to resolve any disputes. That type of clause would essentially foreclose a resident’s right to go to court. Instead, an arbitrator would issue a binding decision after hearing from both of the parties in a private proceeding.
By one estimate, around 1.5 million nursing home residents will benefit from the new protection. A trade group spokesperson, however, expressed the nursing home industry’s strong reaction against the new rule. The statement even asserted that the agency lacked the statutory authority to pass the rule.
Our law firm has proudly helped many families concerned about the serious abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility. In too many cases, we have seen a family consent to unfavorable arbitration clauses in order to obtain medical care and assistance for a loved one. Now, that choice will no longer be forced upon them.
Keep in mind, however, that the rule only paves the way for bringing a nursing home neglect lawsuit in court. An experienced personal injury law firm must still handle the investigation into the facts. Our law firm has the experience to look for signs of neglect hidden under various excuses.
Source: The New York Times, “U.S. Just Made It a Lot Less Difficult to Sue Nursing Homes,” Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery, Sept. 28, 2016