The path to justice just got a little easier in the United States when it comes to elder abuse, neglect, sexual assault and even murder. In the past, if a family found a loved one was being abused or neglected in a nursing home or assisted living facility, they often had a difficult road ahead if they wanted to sue. In fact, clauses embedded in the fine print of nursing home admissions contracts have pushed disputes about safety and the quality of care out of public view. Many had clauses that prevented families and victims from suing. Even if wrongdoing was found, they were forced into the arbitration process, due to clauses in their contract with the nursing home. Under a new rule in the U.S., any nursing home that receives federal funding from agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid cannot require that its residents resolve disputes in arbitration, instead of court.
With this monumental decision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency under Health and Human Services, has given millions of elderly Americans across the country the right to have their day in court. The new rule is set to go into effect on November 28, 2016, and it will not be applied retroactively. When the new regulation goes into effect, nursing homes will not be allowed to require new residents to sign agreements that contain arbitration clauses, unless they’re willing to forego receiving Federal government monies.
Here at Goldstein and Bashner we know laws change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. We were thrilled to learn that this new law is definitely for the better. It’s very important for elderly and their family to be protected. One should not have to choose between quality care, or giving up their legal options. Under arbitration, the public and the media are kept in the dark about terrible incidents at nursing homes. No longer will cases get swept under the confidential arbitration carpet. The path to justice will be a little easier than before.
If you have reason to believe that your loved one suffered abuse or neglect at a Long Island, New York nursing home or assisted living facility, you have rights and can take legal action. It’s important to hold those who may be responsible accountable. By pursuing legal action, you can help prevent the same thing from happening to another family.