Lawsuits for Mistreatment of Elderly Could Be Thing of the Past
Putting your elderly loved one under the care of another person is stressful even under the best of circumstances. Having to make the difficult decision only to find out the care facility or nursing home mistreated your loved one is devastating.
Thankfully, legal action has been an option for those who are abused or who have loved ones abused in nursing homes. Not only does this help you deal with the abuse that occurred, it’s preventative. When nursing home employees know they could face legal action, they’ll do all they can to avoid a problem.
But what if this right to sue in the case of abuse of an elderly loved one is taken away? What will you do if your loved one is exposed to neglect or abuse and legally, you have no power to do anything about it?
This is exactly what could occur if the current presidential administration changes rules put in place by the previous administration.
Obama Administration Rule Prevents Medicare and Medicaid Facilities from Enforcing “No Sue” Agreements
Under the previous administration there was a moratorium on “no sue” agreements. This prevented any facility receiving federal funding from enforcing an arbitration agreement and allowed residents and their families to settle disputes that included accusations against a facility in court.
The current administration has failed to show any effort to keep these protections in place.
In October 2016, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) joined with a group of nursing homes and filed a lawsuit in an effort to skirt the rule. According to the ACHA, the rule violated the Federal Arbitration Act and overstepped the agency’s authority. They also claimed that allowing lawsuits caused the cost of nursing home care to skyrocket.
More than 75 consumer groups oppose any changes to the rule. The Fair Arbitration Now (FAN) Coalition even went so far as to call for a federal law to make arbitration voluntary, stating on their website:
“Most people don’t know that forced arbitration clauses are buried in the fine print of many contracts to receive products and services, and even to obtain employment. These contract clauses force people to give up their right to go to court – even if a company harms them or rips them off. Instead consumers are pushed into secret arbitration.” Seniors lose their right to appeal any decision and proceedings are often overseen by arbitration firms hand-picked by the nursing home industry.”
Study Shows Staffing and Quality of Care a Problem for Nursing Homes
It’s no secret that care and quality from nursing home to nursing home varies a great deal. One recent study published in Health Services Research using data from researchers at UCSF and the University of California – Irvine found a number of nursing homes deficient in staffing and quality. The study included data on the millions of infection that occur in these facilities and pointed out that as many as 380,000 of these infections result in fatal consequences.
Another study from the American Journal of Infection Control showed about 15 percent of these facilities lack adequate infection control procedures.
Though the ability to sue won’t automatically stop nursing homes from their neglectful and abusive practices, the right to sue can serve as a deterrent. And it gives families the right to take action if the unthinkable does occur.
Seniors Who Have Been Exposed to Abuse or Neglect Have Legal Rights
If you or a loved one suffered medical trauma, abuse, or neglect in a nursing home, you could have a right to take legal action. We believe families with loved ones in care facilities should be free to defend themselves and should have the protection of the US government behind them.
To show your support, you can add your name to this petition.
Our firm has worked with families who have dealt with the devastating effects of nursing home abuse and neglect. For more information or to discuss your case with our team, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377.