The federal government has recently announced plans for new regulations that will crack down on the problem of residents being abused by nursing home employees. Specifically, the new regulations are designed to target a recently occurring problem of nursing home employees taking demeaning photographs and videos of residents and sharing them on social media sites. Recently published articles by a patient advocacy group have documented the worsening phenomenon and the federal response.
The Federal Government Can Use Medicare to Urge States and Nursing Homes to Prevent Abuse
Most nursing homes are administered by private organizations or state or municipal governments, but the federal government contributes to the costs for each resident in a vast majority of those homes in the form of Medicare payments made on the resident’s behalf. Although the federal government generally lacks direct regulatory authority to compel state or privately run nursing homes to implement certain policies, it can tie compliance with anti-abuse policies into the nursing home’s receipt of Medicare funds, which often comprise most of the payments the nursing homes receive.
Recently Announced Policies to Combat Social Media Abuse
According to the advocacy group’s report, the federal agency that oversees nursing homes, known as The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, recently released a memorandum to all state health departments, requesting that all nursing homes accepting Medicare funds implement policies specifically prohibiting staff from taking demeaning pictures or videos of residents. Additionally, the agency called on state health departments to investigate allegations of abuse and report violations to the appropriate license agencies for possible discipline. The federal government’s attempts to combat nursing home abuse will not be able to stop all instances of abuse, but regulators hope their efforts can reduce the severity of the problem.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
While regulators and state governments try to combat the problem of nursing home abuse, existing and future victims of abuse may also seek legal recourse against the individual offenders through a state court action. Victims of physical abuse or neglect who have demeaning photos or videos of their abuse posted online may be able to seek additional damages from the offending employees or organizations by pursuing a personal injury or nursing home abuse lawsuit. Published abuse that does not result in physical injuries may still be actionable by a victim, who could seek financial compensation for the psychological harm and mental anguish caused by the abuse, as well as the expenses incurred in pursuing the claim and finding alternative living arrangements for the resident. Family members of nursing home residents who suspect physical, sexual, or social media abuse should discuss their case with a qualified nursing home abuse attorney to review the options to protect their loved one.
The Legal Representation Needed to Hold The Perpetrators of Abuse Accountable for Their Actions
If you suspect that a family member has been a victim of nursing home abuse or social media abuse by an employee or medical provider at a nursing home, they may have a negligence case against nursing home staff and administration. The experienced Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. nursing home abuse attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have the experience and dedication necessary to bring many types of nursing home negligence and abuse cases. Nobody deserves to be a victim of nursing home abuse. At Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, we accept cases in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire D.C. area. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses May Punish Patients and Families For Expecting Quality Care, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 5, 2016.
Court Holds Family Member of Nursing Home Resident Cannot Consent to Arbitration Unless Resident Is Deemed Incompetent by Primary Care Physician, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 19, 2016.