Poliakoff and Associates wishes you a Happy New Year!

Please keep safe and remember those we have lost this year.

ThinkProgress had the Top Ten Travesties Justice.  See which one you believe is the biggest travesty.

Rick Shapiro listed the Top Ten Civil Justice Stories of 2013.

Number 8 was Nursing Home Failures.

8. Nursing Homes Fail Patients Across the Country

The demand for nursing homes is increasing every year, but it appears that many nursing homes are being run poorly, with too much attention to cost-cutting, and not enough on patient safety. More than 1.5 million Americans live in our nation’s nursing homes and, over the next decade, that number is expected to increase by 40 percent as baby boomers become long-term care consumers. Unfortunately, a new report published by Families for Better Care shows that 90% of nursing homes are deficient. To make matters worse, many families are being forced to give up their right to take their case to court even if their family member is severely injured or killed due to blatant neglect and malpractice. How? Through fine print in the nursing home placement papers that mandates “nursing home arbitration”. No right to a trial to a jury, instead a process that lacks many constitutional safeguards of the civil justice system put in place by the founding fathers of the United States.

What Did We Learn?

A congressional report found that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States — 5,283 facilities — were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over a two-year period. The most common problems included untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, the report said. To add insult to injury, more nursing home corporations are using mandatory arbitration clauses as a way to avoid transparency and accountability for their negligence. Inserted in the fine print of lengthy admission documents, many families are stunned and unaware they signed away their constitutional rights to trial by jury until something tragic happens, and then it’s too late.

Nursing homes receive more than $75 billion from government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. When residents in these programs are injured as a result of neglect or sub-standard medical care, and nursing homes ultimately pay for the harms and losses, Medicare and Medicaid end up covering any additional medical costs of the resulting treatments. Its a vicious cycle and that is why requiring accountability and attention to patient health and safety must be the paramount goal of the civil justice system vis-à-vis nursing home care. Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court will address the inequities in not only nursing home “mandatory arbitration” admission agreements, but in mandatory arbitration clauses creeping into nearly every consumer credit card, banking, and other financial agreement.


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