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Experienced Injury Lawyers

Nursing Home Residents to Be Protected from Arbitration

Published on Sep 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

For years, nursing home contracts nationwide have contained dangerous arbitration clauses that force nursing home and long term care facility residents to give up one crucial legal right—the right to take that facility to court if a resident’s health or safety becomes compromised. These clauses were often inserted into resident contracts for federally-funded nursing homes and care facilities in order to cut costs. Specifically, legal costs.

The most unfortunate part about these arbitration clauses is the fact that most residents and their family members are unaware of them completely. When a family makes the decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home, the last thing they’re thinking about is the possibility of having to go to court. This is a stressful and emotional time for families. When nursing homes hide these clauses in the tiny print of admittance contracts, most family members don’t even realize what they’re signing.

It’s a downright sneaky move—one that costs lives. Every year we hear stories about nursing home residents who are abused, neglected, and even killed in some cases due to carelessness or negligence. When residents and their loved ones can’t legally do anything to protect the residents from negligence, what’s stopping nursing home staff members from getting away with whatever they can?

How to Protect a Loved One from Falling in a Nursing Home

Published on Sep 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

When we place a loved one in a nursing home or long term care facility, we trust that their basic needs will be taken care of—that they’ll be kept well-fed, clean, healthy, and safe. Due to the unfortunate fact that most facilities are understaffed or have an excessive amount of residents, however, it’s impossible for staff members to constantly keep an eye on every resident. Falls happen in nursing homes on a daily basis and can lead to devastating health consequences.

Florida Medicare Fraud Case is the Largest Ever Brought Against Individuals

Published on Aug 23, 2016 at 10:00 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Three Florida residents were recently charged in an alleged Medicare and money laundering scheme that has been referred to by the U.S. Justice Department as the “largest single criminal healthcare fraud case ever brought against individuals”. As reported by CNBC, the scheme has netted the conspirators a total sum of over $1 billion since 2009.

In an indictment that was filed July 22nd, 2016, it was revealed that Philip Esformes, owner of 30 Miami assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, as well as a hospital administrator and a physician’s assistant were charged with conspiracy, healthcare fraud, and money laundering. Esformes, 47, lived a personal lifestyle that included private jets worth $2.1 million, luxury vehicles worth $2.4 million, and watches that were worth more than $360,000 each.

Esformes and his conspirators allegedly cycled thousands of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries through his company, Esformes Network, despite the fact that those beneficiaries didn’t quality for such care. Unnecessary care was billed to those accounts then laundered. In the court filing, it was revealed that those beneficiaries were prescribed with—and then became addicted to—narcotics which forced the beneficiaries to remain in Esformes Network facilities.

Federal Government Attempts to Discourage Social Media as a Platform for Nursing Home Abuse

Published on Aug 10, 2016 at 7:42 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

The federal government announces it will now be cracking down on nursing home facility employees who take and post disrespectful photos of residents on social media outlets. A recent ProPublica report has documented employees of nursing home and assisted living facilities using Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram to post pictures of residents who are naked, covered in feces, or even deceased. The report also documents images of abuse against residents.

Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements: How Many Residents Are Signing Away Their Right To Go To Court

Published on Feb 12, 2016 at 1:04 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

For years, large corporations have been using a little known federal law to protect themselves from victims seeking justice.  The Federal Arbitration Act, and state laws that mimic it, are used by nursing homes to compel victims to pursue their claims by a lawyer, rather than a judge, who is oftentimes paid directly by the nursing home and depends on the nursing home’s business for his or her livelihood.  You can read about victims of arbitration clauses at TakeJusticeBack.

As these clauses, which appear in the nursing home’s paperwork without ever being explained to the residents, are starting to get the attention they deserve.  Minnesota’s attorney general is encouraging the federal government to protect the rights of nursing home residents by making sure they do not sign away their rights to take disputes with the facility to court.  For some facilities, waiving the right to legal action is presented as a separate document, while other facilities bury the agreement in the lengthy, complicated admissions paperwork.  Many facilities have mandatory arbitration clauses as part of their admissions contract.

Families must sign many documents when someone enters a nursing home facility.  It is often a stressful and overwhelming experience, making it easy to miss hidden and well-worded clauses designed to protect the interests of the facility.  When signing the paperwork for admission into a nursing home facility, many do not realize that they are also signing an arbitration agreement.  It is not until the future when a family wishes to make a wrongful death or resident neglect claim that they realize they cannot take their claim to court.

Large corporations claim that arbitration is used when two parties cannot reach an agreement on a given issue and instead find an impartial arbitrator to make the decision.  Both parties agree that the arbitrator’s decision is binding.  This process allegedly saves time and money as the case does not go to court.  However, statistics show that when parties are forced into arbitration as opposed to the judicial system, the results are skewed against the victims.  The process takes longer and is often times more expensive than the victims families can afford, leaving them without any recourse when a nursing home does wrong.

Nursing home residents and their families deserve to experience excellent long-term care.  In the event of a wrongful death or incident of abuse or neglect, it is important that residents and their families have retained their right to bring the issue to court.  If you wish to learn more about arbitration agreements used by nursing home facilities, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information.