Bush’s dastardly act against the elderly.
The Bush administration quietly issued a rule last fall closing off a key source of information about abuse and neglect in nursing homes. The rule, which came to light only recently, is beginning to impede lawsuits brought by families against facilities.
As reported in a column in the Washington Post, the rule designates state nursing home inspectors and Medicare and Medicaid contractors as “federal employees,” thus effectively shielding them from providing evidence in private litigation. Litigants in cases must now go to greater lengths, including seeking court orders, to get nursing home inspection reports or depositions from inspections officials.
“This change hurts nursing-home residents and their families by allowing bad practices to be kept in secret by nursing homes and inspectors,” Eric M. Carlson, an attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Los Angeles, told the Post. “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.”
Interestingly, the rule is also making it harder for nursing homes to get information on how state inspectors make decisions to penalize, cite or order the shut-down of facilities.
IMO, anyone who would help make laws so children and the elderly are not protected is lower than life. I have always felt those unable to protect themselves must be protected against preditors or harm.
According to the Washington Post.
The Bush administration shut off a source of information last fall about abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities that people suing nursing homes consider crucial to their cases.
The change, which affects the $144 billion nursing-home industry, was enacted with no public notice or attention.
“This is pretty stunning,” said Mark Kosieradzki, a plaintiff attorney in Plymouth, Minn. “Nobody was told. It was just done.”
Wonder how much was in this for Bush? I guess since he doesn’t have to worry about him and Laura or Barbara and and ‘Big Daddy’ being in nursing homes he doesn’t care about the rest of us.
The new rule, which was issued in September, generally prohibits state health departments and contractors from participating in private lawsuits involving facilities that are in the federal assistance program without approval by the head of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The effect of the directives has started to play out in the nation’s courtrooms. Requests for information, once fairly routine, now are stalled between state and federal officials.
Anne Marie Regan, an attorney with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, a nonprofit poverty legal advocacy and research center, said the change has slowed a case she is pursuing on behalf of an 85-year-old man who was evicted from a nursing home in 2007.
Priscilla Shoemaker, legal counsel for the American Health Care Association in Washington, said nursing homes “are in the same boat” because they also have difficulty getting information on how state inspectors determine penalties, citations and orders to shut down homes.