Holding nursing homes accountable for abuse or neglect is the only way to prevent additional residents from being hurt in the future. Unfortunately, according to several critics, a regulatory overhaul proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may not be tough enough on nursing homes.
Thirty-two members of Congress signed a letter to the CMS stating that it failed to address several quality-of-care concerns, including the use of arbitration agreements, staffing and care issues.
The representatives called for a ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements, arguing that the current CMS stance causes confusion. Arbitration agreements are allowed, as long as they are not required for admission and are explained to residents.
Pre-dispute arbitration agreements allow nursing homes to avoid lawsuits over nursing home abuse by requiring that any disputes be handled by private arbitration. When seniors sign these agreements, they give up their right to a jury trial in favor of arbitration, where one or more arbitrators hired by the nursing home resolves the dispute.
The letter also argues that the CMS proposed regulations do not do enough to address staffing or quality issues. The representatives state that nursing homes should be required to have a registered nurse on staff at all times and should require staff-to-patient ratios for direct-care nurses.
Critics have also called for an appeals process for residents who are denied readmission into a nursing home. This could help reduce the practice of "resident dumping," where nursing homes discharge patients who require a lot of care in favor of patients who require less care and are more lucrative for the facility.
The CMS proposed regulatory overhaul of nursing home regulations is the largest of its kind since 1991. Finalized regulations are expected in September.
If your loved ones have suffered nursing home abuse, contact the Sacramento nursing home abuse attorneys at the Arnold Firm today.