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.
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.