New Guidelines Hailed by Providers

Advocates for seniors are praising new guidelines set forth by the federal government regarding some nursing home practices. The first sweeping update to rules since 1991 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has nursing homes facing a new set of guidelines.

The federal government moved to ban nursing homes from forcing new patients to sign an agreement requiring them to bring disputes to arbitration rather than a jury trial. These disputes can include allegations of abuse, sexual harassment, and even wrongful death.

CMS is also making it more difficult for nursing homes to involuntarily discharge or transfer patients. Training requirements for new employees have also been expanded.

A provision stating that an initial care plan has to be developed within 48 hours of admission has also been added.

700 pages of provisions are expected to be phased in over the next three years. The first phase will be in place in the next seven weeks.

Advocates are praising certain aspects of the new provisions, choosing what they see as certain victories. One of these provisions limits a nursing home’s ability to dump a patient at a hospital and then refuse to readmit them. Another ensures that nursing home employees are properly trained to deal with patients with dementia as well as the prevention of elder abuse.

However, what is seen as the overall victory is the provision that prohibits pre-dispute arbitration clauses. These clauses, in many contracts for admittance to nursing homes, prevents residents from going to court if something bad happens. Unlike public records like those available during court proceedings, disputes are handled through an arbitrator and are usually kept private.

Officials in the nursing home industry call the prohibition disappointing.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect while in the care of a nursing facility, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. Our attorneys may be able to help you. Contact us today.