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Regulation Changes Impacting Elder Law and Victims of Abuse

Jan. 17, 2017

Recent changes to Medicaid and Medicare that impacts nursing homes has passed and as someone practicing elder law, I find that these changes may be beneficial to my clients. If your loved one is in a nursing home and you fear that they have been victims of abuse, it is wise to speak with an attorney right away. I will be happy to answer your questions, go over the case, and let you know what your legal options are. With these particular regulation changes, the most important change is the fact that arbitration can no longer be mandatory. To understand why this matters, it helps to know a little more about the law.

Understanding the basics

When someone has harmed you or a loved one, you have the right to sue them and have your case heard in court. This allows you and your attorney to present the facts of the case and argue why the other party was responsible for any injuries or harm suffered. However, nursing homes are notorious for forcing incoming patients and their families to sign mandatory arbitration clauses. An arbitration clause forces the case to go before an arbitrator (often a retired judge) for a decision to be made. The case will never be heard by a jury because you forgo that right when signing the contract. The problem is that you have fewer options when going through arbitration. For example, you may be unable to appeal a decision that you do not like; something that you can normally do after a trial.New regulations prevent mandatory arbitration clauses, giving the elderly and their families full legal resource should something go wrong. As a provider of elder law, I find this to be a useful tool in protecting the rights of my clients. It should be noted, however, that if your loved one is in a nursing home currently, they are probably under a mandatory arbitration clause because old contracts are not invalidated by this new law. This means that if you want to benefit from the change, you either need to negotiate a new contract with the nursing home (something I can assist with) or you will need to move them to a new facility.

Beneficial changes I can help you utilize

Other beneficial changes have been made to shorten the time frame for investigating claims of abuse or inappropriate behavior and then terminating the employee. These changes can serve to protect additional residents from suffering harm at the hand of a staff member.These changes have been put in place to protect the elderly and hopefully, they lower the incidences of neglect, abuse or theft. However, human behavior is unlikely to change and the elderly are often viewed as a soft target. This makes it all too common for seniors to have their belongings stolen, life savings snatched or to be physically abused by their caregivers. If you feel that any of this is happening to someone you care about, call my office to schedule a consultation. As an elder law attorney, I can discuss the legal options available to you and the best ways to proceed with the case.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.