Historically, too many nursing facility operators have provided poor care, failed to prepare for disasters, and lobbied aggressively for weakened regulations and enforcement. This situation has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths and injuries among older Americans living in these facilities. Justice in Aging ensures that residents’ advocates know how to fight for their clients’ rights, pushes Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to pass and enforce laws to protect residents, and serves as an important national voice on common nursing home issues and what’s needed to improve them.
With nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths tied to nursing facilities, Justice in Aging has engaged in aggressive advocacy aimed at keeping residents safe by pushing policymakers to institute and enforce strong consumer protections.
Can a nursing home deny needed therapy services? Evict a resident for being “difficult”? Limit family members and friends to specified “visiting hours”? Many common nursing home practices are, in fact, illegal. This guide by Justice in Aging attorney Eric Carlson discusses some of the most common—and most problematic—nursing home practices, and explains what residents and family members can do to fight back.
Blog Post: Five Steps to Resolving Common Nursing Home Problems, July, 2015
Hurricanes, wildfires, and now COVID-19 have all hit nursing home residents hard, shining a spotlight on the inadequacy of disaster planning in most nursing facilities. After twelve people died in Florida after the air conditioning failed in their nursing home and photos of nursing home residents in Texas sitting in several feet of water awaiting rescue shocked the nation, we released an issue brief offering seven recommendations for federal state and local governments to ensure the safety of nursing home residents in emergency situations. Those are still relevant today as COVID-19 has shown that threats to nursing home residents remain serious.
Issue Brief: Why Many Nursing Facilities Are Not Ready For Emergency Situations, September, 2017
In September 2016, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued revised nursing home regulations that had been thoughtfully developed over four years to promote residents’ health and safety. Now, however, under the current administration, CMS is backtracking and weakening resident protections.
Starting in January 2017, nursing home lobbyists began urging CMS to eliminate or delay enforcement of some of the revised regulations, and to significantly reduce penalties imposed when a nursing home violates the law. Disturbingly, CMS too often has followed the lobbyists’ recommendations.
Protections have been weakened since January 2017, and, the current administration’s actions suggest an intent to further undermine these protections.
Read the issue briefs below for more detailed information:
Analysis: Federal Court Upholds Limits on Nursing Facility Arbitration Agreements, April, 2020
Series: Don’t Abandon Nursing Home Residents June, 2018
Northport Health Services of Arkansas LLC, et al., v. United States Department of Health and Human Services et al. (11/1/2019)
This amicus was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas Fayetteville Division in support of the federal regulation limiting pre-dispute arbitration in nursing facilities.