The Most Important 2017 Nursing Home Laws Explained
Nursing Home Laws
As we begin 2017, we at Evans Law Firm wanted to take some time to discuss the reform in nursing home laws. New rules and regulations have brought some positive improvements to nursing homes, and they have also brought some disappointing results, as well.
To begin positively, we have seen a very important rule go into effect, and that is a ban on pre-arbitration agreements in nursing homes. In the past, nursing homes have protected themselves by stipulating pre-arbitration agreements in the contracts that elders sign for entrance into the home. The agreement basically states that in order to sue the nursing home in the event of death, injury, etc., an individual must proceed through arbitration, not the traditional court of law. Oftentimes the arbitration court does its best to protect nursing homes, and the result is, to us, not a fair and impartial trial. By banning these agreements, proceedings will continue through the traditional court process and hopefully lead to an increased level of accountability and honesty.
We did not, however, see improvements like the pre-arbitration ban in other sections of the new law. First, we continue to see the condonation of chemical restraints being used in nursing homes, particularly with those individuals who suffer from dementia. Additionally, the laws still reflect forgiveness for the mistreatment of patients due to understaffing. Both of these regulations, or lacks thereof, unfortunately do not move us in the direction that we would hope as we begin 2017 and think about our elders in nursing homes here in Marin County, California and around the country.
What it Means
We know one thing for certain: we have a long way to go. However, the changing of laws is important, mostly because it shows governmental interest in something we deeply care about: the rights of our senior citizens. Throughout 2017, we will continue to fight for what is right. We hope you will, too.