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Kentucky Injury Lawyers

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.

Kindred Healthcare Pays Federal Government $125 Million

Published on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:14 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

In an agreement finalized on Tuesday, Kindred Healthcare Inc., a nursing home company located in Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to pay $125 million to settle federal allegations that it gave patients unnecessary treatment in a grand scheme to overbill the federal Medicare program and increase company profits.  The allegations include placing patients in the highest therapy level, even when the patients were unresponsive and did not benefit from or require the therapy.  Kindred agreed to pay the settlement to quiet the issue, but do not admit to any wrongdoing.  Additionally, several nursing homes that hired Kindred’s therapy unit, RehabCare, have agreed to pay $8 million to the federal government for participating in the scheme. 

Nursing Home Employees Use Social Media to Capture and Share the Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

Published on Jan 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

In a disturbing and growing trend, nursing home employees are posting disrespectful and embarrassing pictures of residents on social media. ProPublica has identified 35 instances since 2012 in which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers have shared photos or videos of residents, some of whom were partially or completely naked.  The most popular outlet being used for sharing of these images is Snapchat, an app that allows users to send photos or videos that will appear for a few seconds then disappear with no lasting record.  Some of these incidents have resulted in criminal charges, but most have not.  Photos taken without resident’s permission may violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the federal patient privacy law that carries civil and criminal penalties.

Overworked nursing home staff is often a sign of potential neglect and abuse

Published on Dec 16, 2015 at 5:22 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Nursing home facilities are often understaffed, undertrained, and overwhelmed and Kentucky Nursing Homes are no different.  Employees are overworked and unhappy, two qualities that effect judgment and ultimately lead to poor resident care.  The term “nursing home facility” is misleading, as many facilities do not have a registered nurse present all hours of the day.  The majority of the care received is at the hands of aides.  Aides who are paid poorly and are often not given the proper training to care for the wide range of health concerns of their residents.

What You Need to Know About the Take Justice Back Organization

Published on Dec 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

One of the most dangerous threats to civil rights and liberties is the risk of large corporations and the deeds some do for the sake of profit.  Due to the sheer size of most corporations and the substantial financial power most harness, it’s often possible for corporations to create and write contracts that remove justice from the American population and place it solely in the hands of the corporation. Once they create immunity for themselves they are no longer liable for harms caused to victims of personal injury, products liability and nursing home neglect and abuse.  This gives these corporations the leeway to do what corporations often do best—rake in even more money.

However, there is one campaign that’s dedicated to putting the tools of justice back in the hands of the general American population. This campaign is called Take Justice Back. Formed in 2012, the Take Justice Back organization is a grassroots campaign that was founded on ideals of accountability, awareness, and fairness. Working together with attorneys and law firms around the nation, the organization aims to raise awareness of the unaccountability that often runs rampant in large corporations, promote safety, and ensure every American always has access to the legal system. When the population is aware that corporations often lack personal responsibility, it becomes easier to fight against these corporations and place justice back into the hands of the people. While the campaign is national in nature, Kentucky victims of personal injury and nursing home abuse and neglect are helped by the group’s efforts.

Since the Take Justice Back campaign was launched, the organization has raised awareness and made progress in many areas. Some of the areas addressed by Take Justice Back include food safety, auto safety, women’s health, medical safety, drug safety, product safety, asbestos safety, and nursing home safety. These areas are all commonly controlled by large corporations and shouldn’t be. Safety is a human concern, and should not be controlled by a corporation.