Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Face New Discovery Hurdles Created by Bush Administration
When a nursing home resident is injured due to the negligence of a facility or their staff, a nursing home lawsuit not only helps the family secure compensation, but also acts as an important safeguard to encourage the industry to provide the proper standard of care. However, a new rule enacted by President Bush in the last months of his administration has made it more difficult for nursing home negligence lawyers to obtain some of the information necessary to document cases for those who have been abused or neglected.
The rule, which was passed in September 2008, classifies contractors who perform nursing home inspections for Medicare and Medicaid as federal employees. This makes a lot of information uncovered during inspections difficult to obtain, as federal employees are prohibited from participating in nursing home negligence lawsuits without the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granting approval.
Nursing home lawyers investigating potential cases of neglect and abuse are now forced to obtain court orders to obtain what is often crucial information from inspection reports or testimony from the inspectors. This has the unfortunate effect of shielding some nursing homes who are providing substandard care, placing residents at further risk of being injured.
For months, consumer groups, families of nursing home residents and injury lawyers have been starting to feel the effects of this new rule, which has gone largely unnoticed by the general public and the media.
Last week, Bloomberg News became one of the first in the mainstream media outlets to highlight the impact of this last-minute Bush rule. The article states in part:
The restrictions affect about 16,000 nursing facilities and 3 million residents in the United States. The practical effect is to force litigants to go to greater lengths, including seeking court orders, to get inspection reports or depositions for cases they are pursuing or defending.
“This change hurts nursing-home residents and their families by allowing bad practices to be kept in secret by nursing homes and inspectors,” said Eric M. Carlson, an attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Los Angeles. “Government inspectors have the right to go into nursing homes and investigate, and they learn things that residents and families otherwise could never find out.”
NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE ATTORNEYS
With continued efforts to raise awareness about the impact of this administrative rule, hopefully it will be reversed.
The attorneys at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential cases throughout the United States for severe and life-threatening injuries caused by nursing home negligence, abuse and neglect. If you, a friend or family member have experienced nursing home problems, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.