The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently enacted a new rule that makes it easier for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect to file lawsuits against the at-fault facility.
The rule blocks federal funding to long-term care facilities that include arbitration clauses in their contracts. These clauses force nursing home residents to settle disputes related to abuse and neglect through arbitration rather than by filing a civil lawsuit.
Arbitration saves nursing homes money by reducing the legal fees and payouts that would accompany civil litigation; however, it prevents nursing home abuse victims and their families from recovering fair compensation. Arbitration also prevents prospective residents from learning about past incidences of abuse or neglect.
The CMMS is an agency within the Health and Human Services Department. According to a report from The New York Times, it is responsible for appropriating at least $1 trillion in Medicaid and Medicare funding. The new rule will affect an estimated 1.5 million nursing home residents.
Unless the CMMS rule is challenged in court, it will go into effect in November. It will only affect future admissions to nursing homes.
Nursing Home Industry Protests New CMMS Rule
Although the new rule is an unprecedented victory for nursing home residents and their families, companies within the long-term care industry have expressed their criticisms. Some argue that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is overstepping its statutory authority; others have expressed that the new rule will open the door to lawsuits that will force some long-term care facilities to close.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse happens when a long-term care facility or a nursing home staff member knowingly, willingly or intentionally provides substandard care that causes a resident to suffer an injury, illness or loss. If you or your loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse, then you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills and other damages by making a personal-injury claim against the liable party.
If your family member died due to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, then you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility or at-fault staff member.
Your Rights as a Nursing Home Resident
According to Your Rights as a Nursing Home Resident in New York State and Nursing Home Responsibilities, nursing home residents in New York have the following rights:
- A comfortable living environment;
- Dignity and respect;
- Quality of treatment and care without discrimination;
- Freedom to make their own decisions;
- Security of their money and property;
- Freedom to communicate privately;
- Freedom to participate in activities and organizations of their choosing;
- A complaint procedure that is responsive and easy to use; and
- Freedom to exercise their rights without fear of retaliation.
If your loved one was denied one or more of these rights, then he or she has grounds for a complaint. If your family member or another resident is in imminent danger, it is critical that you contact the police immediately. You should also report the incident by calling the Nursing Home Complaint hotline at 1-888-201-4563.
Then, contact Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP to discuss your case. A personal-injury lawyer in New York City will help you pursue the maximum compensation from the at-fault staff member or facility. Call 212-221-5999 today to schedule a free initial consultation.