The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid and works to identify and eliminate nursing home fraud and abuse, recently released a memorandum detailing their 2020 priorities. These updated priorities are important for Maryland families to understand, as they affect the rights of nursing home residents as well as a resident’s ability to recover in case of nursing home neglect or abuse.
One of the major updates included in the 2020 memorandum concerns arbitration agreements. Arbitration agreements, if signed, require an injured nursing home resident to settle disputes with the home through a confidential arbitration process, rather than in court. This process operates privately, and while it is much faster than traditional litigation, plaintiffs lose any right to appeal and evidence shows plaintiffs are more likely to lose in arbitration. CMS’s recent memorandum states that the agency will allow nursing homes to use binding arbitration agreements with their residents, but that such agreements cannot be required as a condition of receiving care. For instance, if a resident refuses to sign the agreement, nursing homes cannot refuse to care for them solely on that basis. Additionally, CMS indicated in the memorandum that nursing homes must also explain to residents or their representatives that they can still receive care without signing.
CMS also stated that it plans to make changes to how instances of abuse and neglect are reported and investigated. For instance, new guidelines released later this year may include changes in the time frame required for investigations, the collection of certain evidence and investigative report, and general new policies and procedures to be implemented in nursing homes to catch instances of abuse.
While these priorities signal additional protections for nursing home residents, and checks on the power of the homes themselves to cover up instances of neglect and abuse, they, unfortunately, are unlikely to eliminate all such tragic instances. Many nursing homes may be unaware of the law, or may simply ignore it. Because residents in nursing homes are generally vulnerable and often unlikely to speak for or defend themselves, nursing home abuse may continue unimpeded even with new protections. In these cases, Maryland law allows the victims, or their loved ones, to bring a civil suit against a nursing home if they have not signed an arbitration agreement.
Contact a Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you’re searching for a Maryland nursing home abuse lawyer, look no further than Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. With decades of experience helping nursing home abuse victims recover for their injuries, our law firm can skillfully handle your case from beginning to end. We pride ourselves on excellent client representation and our extensive knowledge of Maryland law. If successful, we can help you receive monetary compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. To learn more, and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 800-654-1949, or fill out our online form. Calling is risk-free, as we will not bill you for our services unless we can successfully earn you compensation.