This week, federal officials announced a new rule that will finally allow
lawsuits against nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding
to be submitted to court. Previously, these lawsuits had to be handled
in private arbitration, a process that kept claims secret and limited
the rights of the patients and families.
New York Times reports, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (a part of the
Health and Human Services Department), announced the new rule after 16
states and District of Columbia requested that the government cut Medicare
and Medicaid funding to nursing home facilities that kept these arbitration-only
clauses in the fine print of their legal agreements.
"Today the Obama administration finalized regulations prohibiting
pre-dispute arbitration clauses, taking a tremendous step toward protecting
nursing home residents by ensuring that they can hold facilities accountable
in cases of abuse or neglect," said American Association for Justice
President Julie Braman Kane in a statement following the announcement.
"This will greatly improve patient safety at nursing homes and restore
the rights of nursing home residents and their families."
"Forfeiting Their Legal Rights"
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' announcement comes
at a time when nursing home abuse and neglect cases have received national
attention. In one case, the claim that a 100-year-old resident had been
murdered by her roommate has blocked from the courtroom, as was a case
covered by the
Times in 2015 in which a 94-year-old resident died from an unexplained head wound.
Arbitration-only causes were intended to reduce nursing home legal costs
and keep unflattering stories away from the public, but many found that
the clauses stole away fundamental civil rights from the 1.5 million residents
and families that use federally funded facilities. As Senator Patrick
Leahy of Vermont told the press: "The sad reality is that today too
many Americans must choose between forfeiting their legal rights and getting
adequate medical care."
Does your family have an abuse or neglect claim against a nursing facility?
If so, the dedicated team at
Christian & Davis LLC is ready to hear your story. Our Greenville nursing home abuse lawyers
have recovered millions of dollars in relief for clients who have been
wronged by others. We're ready to hear your story and assess the viability
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