Stanley Law Offices Supports New Federal Law Making it Easier to Take Nursing Homes to Court

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A new federal law enables millions of residents to sue nursing homes rather than submit to forced arbitration. Nursing home abuse lawyers are among the many specialists at Stanley Law Offices.

"The decision prevents nursing homes from driving claims into arbitration instead of court"

In a recent decision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services restored the right of millions of elderly Americans to resolve nursing-home disputes in court. The decision represents the most important changes in 20 years with regard to the agency's rules for governing federal funding of nursing homes.

The new rule affects about 1.5 million current residents of nursing homes. As part of the Health and Human Services Department, the agency manages more than $1 trillion in funding through Medicare and Medicaid.

"The decision prevents nursing homes from driving claims into arbitration instead of court," said Joe Stanley, founder of Stanley Law Offices in Syracuse with other offices in central New York and northern Pennsylvania. "Some of these claims have involved sexual harassment, elderly abuse, even wrongful death. While keeping the lid on legal costs for nursing homes, the fine print in nursing home admissions contracts prevented residents, their families, and nursing home abuse lawyers from getting to the truth by taking their cases to court."

The agency launched its review of the rule in 2015 after numerous patient groups expressed concerns over the almost routine use of arbitration in response to complaints from patients and their families.

The result was officials in 16 states, and the District of Columbia, urging the government to prevent funding to those nursing homes that use specific clauses in their admissions contracts that hide patterns of wrongdoing from potential residents, their families, and nursing home abuse attorneys.

According to Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive of the American Health Care Association, the arbitration change “clearly exceeds” the agency’s statutory authority and was “wholly unnecessary" to ensure the health and safety of nursing home residents.

The nursing home industry also warns that allowing more lawsuits could drive legal costs high enough to force some homes to close.

The Health and Human Services rule regarding arbitration does not require congressional approval. In fact, the final version of the rule authorizes the agency to suspend funding to any long-term care facility that requires arbitration clauses as a condition of admission.

Nursing home abuse attorneys who work with the elderly, like those at Stanley Law Offices, warn that potential residents of nursing homes frequently do not fully understand the admissions documents they are signing.

In fact, judges are bound by Supreme Court decisions in 2011 and 2013 that approved the routine use of arbitration clauses. These decisions have made it extremely difficult to overturn arbitration clauses—even those agreed to by the most vulnerable of nursing home residents.

For more information on this new ruling and nursing home arbitration cases, please see http://www.stanleylawoffices.com, call 800-608-3333, or write or visit Stanley Law Offices, 215 Burnet Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13203.

The Stanley Law Offices, LPP, has offices in Syracuse, Binghamton, Watertown and Rochester, N.Y., and another in Montrose, PA. Stanley Law Offices has built a reputation as a grassroots law firm that takes the time needed to relate to clients. They meet with clients who need legal counsel for workers' compensation, medical malpractice, social security disability, premises injuries, construction site accidents, car crashes, nursing home abuse, and serious injury cases.

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Angela Moonan
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