Well, that has been a problem, especially when arbitration agreements are part of the nursing home contracts.
But all of that is a thing of the past.
As a recent Forbes article titled “The End of Secrecy in Nursing Home Wrongdoing” explains, until now consumers were required to sign arbitration agreements when admitted to a nursing home.
In fact, most folks never realized these agreements prohibited the family from bringing a lawsuit if anything went wrong in a nursing home.
Until something went wrong.
Consequently, if a nursing home neglected or harmed one of its residents, then nobody would know how the arbitrator decided such a case.
Now, there is "a new sheriff in town" when it comes to patient rights in this regard.
Let's face it: no one wants to live in a nursing home.
Nevertheless, after surgery, a serious illness, or an accident or simply because you require nursing care 24/7, nursing homes are a necessary part of our health care system.
Given that reality, they should be safe, comfortable places.
So, what do the new rules require?
Nursing homes must properly train and staff their facilities, as well as protect vulnerable people from other residents who might harm someone if not carefully supervised by skilled staff.
The facilities are required to spend the money to retain enough workers and train them on how to properly do the job.
The Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the revised rules, impacting more than 15,000 long-term care homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid across the U.S.
Sadly, even with the new requirement, the worst nursing homes will probably flaunt them anyway.
However, to receive payment from Medicare and Medicaid, all nursing homes must adhere to better standards or lose money.
Anyone with an aging parent or other loved one who must go to a nursing home is likely to be safer now than before these rules came into effect.
While the rules are not a guarantee of safety, no one placing a loved one in a nursing home can now be forced into signing an agreement to arbitrate an issue, instead of having their day in court.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Forbes (September 29, 2016) “The End of Secrecy in Nursing Home Wrongdoing”