New Federal Regulation Will Impact Many Maryland Nursing Home Residents

Although much of nursing home regulation and action happens at the state level across the country, federal regulations also often impact the day-to-day operations and quality of care that our seniors receive in long-term care facilities. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home facility, it is always important to keep up to date with recent developments both at the state and federal level so that you can best protect your family members and advocate on their behalf if necessary.

According to a recent news report, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals approved of a federal regulation that allows nursing homes to use arbitration agreements with residents but prevents them from making the agreements a prerequisite for admission to the facility. In its opinion, the three-judge panel rejected arguments from a group of nursing homes that claimed that the regulation was unlawful.

In its opinion, the court concluded that it was reasonable for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—the federal agency that promulgated the regulation—to regulate the use of arbitration agreements in nursing homes. The regulation, the court reasoned, would further the well-being and overall health and safety of residents, especially when the elderly individual is first admitted into the facility.

In addition, the court held that CMS was not overstepping its authority and power when regulating arbitration agreements and the administrative side of nursing home facilities. Because Congress gave agencies the power to develop standards for nursing homes and the authority to create standards for the administration of long-term care facilities, the court reasoned that this indicated that federal agencies in charge of long-term facilities are not restricted to only regulating matters surrounding residents’ quality of care.

The regulation at issue may also affect Maryland residents. The arbitration rule allows residents or their representatives to rescind an agreement within 30 days even after signing, requires arbitration agreements to be fully explained to residents, and agreements cannot contain language that bans residents or their loved ones from contacting authorities. In addition, facilities are required to maintain copies of signed agreements and arbitration decisions for five years.

Maryland, similar to other states, will unfortunately often have facilities where nursing home abuse takes place. With new federal regulations designed to further protect seniors and their ability to adjudicate should disputes arise, nursing home residents and their loved ones can take the time they need to evaluate whether a new facility is the right fit. The additional flexibility of the new federal regulation coupled with state enforcement efforts to protect elders will hopefully pave way for increased transparency and better overall quality of care for our loved ones.

Do You Need a Maryland Nursing Home Attorney?

If you or someone you know has suffered abuse, neglect, or injury at a Maryland nursing home, contact the lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen today for assistance. Our team has collected more than 55 million on behalf of our clients and will support you through the nuances and complexities of your legal claim so that you can proceed with ease. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 800-654-1949.

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