In many societies, the elders are revered, and looked up to for their wisdom and experience. The Buffalo, and Erie County community has a high percentage of seniors. Many spend their last years in senior citizen housing or nursing homes. While there are some fine local facilities, unfortunately, there is substandard and negligent care in numerous Western New York nursing homes. It is important that families observe the conditions, to protect loved ones entrusted to the care of nursing home administrators.
Often times, it is necessary for our older family members to reside in a nursing home to get proper care. However, nursing homes should be accountable when the care of our loved ones is dangerously negligent, careless or even, at times abusive. When this occurs the patient or their family may need a nursing home attorney.
Many facilities, in the fine print of their contracts, have been including mandatory arbitration clauses. That means, nursing homes were taking away our seniors rights to seek for a court to address harms caused to them, even in the most egregious circumstances. We, at Feroleto Law are strongly opposed to mandatory arbitration agreements requiring seniors to give up their constitutional rights of access to the court system.
In 2016, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) passed a ban on these arbitration agreements in nursing home contracts. The CMS found the arbitration agreements to be fundamentally unfair. Now, under a new administration, CMS officials are attempting to repeal the ban on mandatory arbitration agreements to allow facilities to include mandatory arbitration agreements, as a condition of admission.
Having to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of admission puts great pressure on the family members of our seniors, who are vulnerable and are admitted to a facility for the purpose of receiving proper care. Many family members do not understand the consequences of what they are agreeing to when signing a health care facility contract until a loved one is injured or dies because of reckless care or lack of care.
With the number of elderly entering nursing homes on the rise, and the issue of substandard care in nursing homes still looming, our parents and grandparents are more vulnerable than ever. They should not be denied access to justice because a mandatory arbitration agreement was inserted in the fine print, by a nursing home lawyer.
There should not be two systems of justice, one with access to the court system for most of us, one without access for seniors. It is plain wrong. In addition to taking away seniors right to their day in court, the negligent or careless nursing home is in a far superior position than the resident, as the arbitrators are often familiar with the nursing homes, and the amount of evidence that can be shown by the resident, or family of the resident is often limited.
When our seniors are physically harmed by lack of providing proper nutrition, hydration, or needlessly allowing decubitus ulcers, often called bedsores, which would not occur if proper procedures are followed, the facilities, and the corporations that own them, should be held accountable. If you or a family member have been needlessly harmed due to the actions or inactions of a nursing or senior citizens facility, you should contact a nursing home attorney, you can contact John Feroleto or the attorneys at Feroleto Law if you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse.