Posted on Sep 18, 2017

Sometimes we get phone calls from people who have lost or seen their loved ones severely injured while living in a nursing home environment. These people understandably want to know if they have a case against the nursing home for negligence or medical malpractice, or even abuse or neglect.  Nursing homes are required to follow federal regulations regarding the care and treatment of their elderly, often vulnerable residents.

In Hollywood Hills, Florida a nursing home blew a transformer during Hurricane Irma and it appears that this is the reason why eight people died - due to excessive heat because the air conditioning wasn't working and they weren't evacuated.  Many nursing home cases, however, like this one, are currently limited to arbitration rather than pursued through the court system. Arbitration may be binding or nonbinding, depending on the terms of the agreement in the small print. Arbitration is supposed to be faster and less expensive than going to court - but the reality is much, much different.  Most arbitration clauses signed on behalf of residents who often cannot legally consent or understand the agreement because of illness and dementia, strip rights away from them. Many arbitration clauses are skewed in the nursing home corporations favor, requiring the parties to choose from an approved list of expensive, highly-paid arbitrators the corporation uses over and over again; which is hardly holding a nursing home corporation accountable or preventing the same harms from occurring over and over.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized a proposal that would disallow nursing home facilities accepting Medicare and Medicaid to make an agreement to arbitration a requirement for admission. In order for arbitration to be effective, both parties must agree to handle any claims that may arise in this manner. However, recent CMS guidelines have gone back to allowing the arbitration requirements to stand in a recent proposal.

Hopefully CMS will do the right thing for the people it is supposed to protect.

Do you think that you might have a claim against a nursing home, or another type of health care agency? No matter what the details of your situation, we are always here to answer your questions and help to point you in the right direction. We handle medical malpractice and personal injury cases, and we also have a rolodex of attorneys with certain specialties we can direct you to if we are not the best fit for your circumstances.

So, don't wait.  Order a free report, guide or book that can help you.  And give us a call at 202-393-3320 today to speak to someone today, in confidence and with no cost, or obligation.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer