The nursing home industry is big business in the United States. According to several estimates, nursing homes and long-term care facilities generate more than $225 billion per year in revenue. Tens of thousands of licensed facilities of all types exist across the country. Nearly 1.5 million people live in these facilities. The average cost for a year of residency is more than $80,000 per resident. More than two-thirds of these residents rely on Medicaid and or Medicare to help fund this live-in care. It is because of this prevalence of Medicaid and Medicare that a major change in the industry has occurred. That change means that residents will no longer be forced into private arbitration. Instead, they will be able to file nursing home lawsuits when they are harmed. This could prove to be a seismic shift in the way that nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect cases are handled.
The New York Times published an article in recent days that describes the situation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. In recent days, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a rule. That rule states that any nursing home that receives federal funding is no longer allowed to contractually force residents or their family members into arbitration when legal disputes arise. Any nursing home that receives Medicare or Medicaid payments receives federal funding.
Specifically, this new rule will go into effect no later than November of 2016. The rule, however, will only protect people who move into nursing homes after it takes effect. This is an administrative rule change, which means that it does not require Congressional approval. It is possible that the change could be challenged in court. As would be expected, many are against this rule, most notably the nursing home industry as it states in the article linked hereto. Conversely, nursing home residents and their families will now be able to bring a facility to court if harm is inflicted instead of having to rely on private arbitration.
This change that allows nursing home lawsuits is extremely important for several reasons. The nursing home population is projected to increase from its current level of 1.5 million people to more than twice that by 2030, if not more. As it stands now, nearly one-third of all licensed nursing homes in the United States are cited for violations of federal standards that could cause harm every three years. The bottom line is that it’s possible that the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect is going to get much worse in the relatively near future. As such, people who are harmed and their families need to be able to file nursing home lawsuits.
If you or a loved one is living in a nursing home and he or she has been or is being mistreated, take action as soon as possible. The sooner you step in, the sooner that resident’s safety, health and dignity can be restored. Contact the San Diego nursing home abuse lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free case evaluation.Posted in: Elder Abuse
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