Proposed Bill Would Hold Nursing Homes Accountable

Representing Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Nearby Areas of Florida

Over the last 7 or 8 years, many of our clients will attest that nursing home operators have effectively insulated themselves from accountability for abusing and neglecting their residents, many of whom are Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, cheating the government out of money and families out of good health care. They have done this by creating mazes of corporations, limited liability companies, real estate investment trusts, and other legal but suspect business entities, in arrangements that protect assets and revenues from abused and neglected residents and their families who seek civil justice in American courtrooms. Most insurance companies won’t even insure these companies for liability because of the poor care they provide routinely and systematically all over the United States. This leaves injured residents and their families with little legal recourse and their attorneys frustrated in their attempts to hold these companies, many of whom are wealthy investment groups, responsible for the damage, injuries and deaths they’ve caused.

 

If Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has his way, a new bill proposed this month may change this trend and hold nursing home operators accountable. He has proposed the Nursing Home Transparency And Improvement Act of 2008 which would require disclosure of identity of owners and their affiliated entities, together with other remedies aimed at improving care and fairness to nursing home residents and their families. This bill is a good start, but even if it passes, it probably does not go far enough to assure fairness and a level playing field in the civil justice system. While it does require operators to identify and disclose entities involved in the operation of nursing homes, it does not address many other concerns prevalent in cases we see every day when seeking justice for nursing home residents and their families. Concerns like unfair arbitration clauses in admission agreements that residents and family members sign unwittingly and at an extremely stressful time when subject to undue influence from caregivers, social workers, and nursing home administrators. Concerns like the lack of mandatory liability insurance or self-insurance in adequate amounts to assure that nursing home operators are financially responsible and can pay for damages, injuries, or death that they cause while taking in millions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars for profit.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect or injured in a nursing home or assisted living facility, call the experienced attorneys at CGWC for a free consultation.