Local Advocate for Victims and Families of Nursing Home Abuse Denounces Last-Minute Rule Change by Bush Administration

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Brad Lakin of LakinChapman, LLC, a noted advocate for victims and families of nursing home abuse, denounced last-minute rule changes by the Bush Administration that will benefit the $144 billion nursing home industry and make it harder for families to investigate claims of abuse.

Brad Lakin of LakinChapman, LLC, a noted advocate for victims and families of nursing home abuse, denounced last-minute rule changes by the Bush Administration that will benefit the $144 billion nursing home industry and make it harder for families to investigate claims of abuse.

This change was just one of a large array of "midnight" rule changes put forward by the Bush Administration during the last weeks before the transition.

Lakin said, "The Bush Administration quietly slipped in this major rule change just before leaving office. The effect is going to be extremely damaging to victims and families of nursing home abuse and will make it more difficult for them to investigate claims of abuse as part of a lawsuit."

The rule itself designates that state nursing home inspectors and Medicare and Medicaid contractors are federal employees, and thus are prohibited from providing evidence in a lawsuit.

Lakin explained, "Families investigating abuse claims by filing a lawsuit will be prohibited from interviewing and collecting evidence of abuse form these inspectors. The interviews and evidence collected by these state employees can be crucial in establishing abuse claims."

The 6,800 state nursing home inspectors are the front line of defense for victims as they investigate complaints and survey facilities to make certain they comply with nursing home regulations.

"This rule change may have a significant chilling effect on lawsuits designed to uncover and protect nursing home abuse. Advocates for nursing home abuse victims will be working to overturn these unfair, pro-industry rules. I urge anyone with family members in nursing homes to contact their Congressional representatives immediately," Lakin said.

Lakin is the author of a guide for families with loved ones in a nursing home that is available for free at http://www.nursinghomechoice.com.

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