More Nursing Home Lawsuits Can Now Go to Trial
Norman Taylor & Associates
October 5, 2016
Late last month, officials announced the end of a prevalent legal strategy that allowed nursing home facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding to resolve all lawsuits against them in private arbitration. Now, elder abuse and neglect victims and their families can have their claims against a nursing facility addressed and resolved publicly in a courtroom.
As the New York Times reports, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (an organization within the Health and Human Services Department) has announced that arbitration-only agreements between federally funding facilities and their patients were now prohibited. It is estimated that the facilities affected by this announcement house and care for 1.5 million residents nationwide.
The change, which the nursing home industry has resisted, comes after 16 states and the District of Columbia appealed to the federal government to intervene and end the practice. The states argued that arbitration-only clauses were bad for the public and only protected the corporations that operate the facilities.
Arbitration-only clauses have been popular in the nursing home industry because they allow for several advantages. For one, unlike a trial, arbitration is kept private. That means that even when there is a legitimate claim against a nursing home, unflattering information or practices are kept from the public.
Victims and families are also at a disadvantage in arbitration. Ultimately, the defendant companies that facilitate this process—not an impartial judge—and many families are left to either settle their case or drop it completely. The new announcement, however, will likely level the playing field and give a significantly higher number of elder abuse and neglect victims their day in court.
Do you believe that your elderly or disabled loved one was a victim of abuse or neglect in their nursing home? If so, we invite you to call us at Norman Taylor & Associates today. Our knowledgeable and aggressive Los Angeles elder abuse attorneys know the challenges client families face with these claims and are ready to ensure that every avenue towards securing relief and justice on their behalf is diligently pursued.
Want to learn more about what our firm can do for you during this difficult time? Contact us today to start exploring your legal options.