Anyone paying even passing attention to politics knows that – no matter where you are on the political spectrum – it is objectively the case that the Trump administration has consistently acted to deregulate a wide range of industries. And while the news has often been filled with stories on taxation, immigration, and investigations, one extremely significant example of this deregulation that may have slipped under the radar for most Americans is recent action taken by the Trump administration to limit protections at the federal level to combat elder abuse in nursing homes.
Advocates of nursing home reform believe this change in the law will benefit nursing homes at the expense of elderly residents’ health and safety. That said, California residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities still have strong legal protections against elder abuse, but the burden is often on families of elderly residents to notice the signs of elder abuse and work with a private elder abuse attorney to prevent and deter future elder abuse while winning financial compensation for injuries and losses.
Nursing Homes Face Less Frequent and Smaller Fines Under New Policy
The changes to policy, put into place by the new administration throughout 2017, do not change the standards that nursing homes who are reimbursed by the federal Medicare program are required to abide by, but they greatly reduce the amount and frequency of fines that will be levied against nursing homes whose employees engage in mistreatment and neglect of elderly residents.
Previously, significant fines had been levied against these nursing homes to prevent and deter such abuse and maltreatment, with 531 separate nursing homes amassing over $100,000 in federal fines. Under new changes enacted by the Trump administration over 2017, nursing homes face much fewer and much less fines, as inspectors have been encouraged not to levy fines against many “first time” offenders, and have used new formulas to minimize the fines nursing homes will have to pay, even for repeated violations occurring over many days and resulting in death for elderly residents.
The New York Times reported that 4 in 10 nursing homes nationwide committed “serious violations” of federal Medicare law intended to protect elderly residents, for a total of 6,500 different nursing homes in serious violation. According to the paper, “common citations include failing to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, mistreatment and bedsores.”
Fighting Back Against Elder Abuse in Spite of Reduced Federal Penalties
While the new policies are not a positive sign for elderly residents and their families seeking to deter elder abuse, California elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities do have the power to take private action against those facilities when elder abuse occursUnder California’s elder abuse laws, a resident (often with the assistance of his or her family) who has been the victim of elder abuse can pursue a civil lawsuit against employees who commit elder abuse and their employers for physical abuse, mental abuse, and elder neglect. By working with an elder abuse attorney, victims can win financial compensation for their losses and take a stand against the elder abuse that so frequently occurs in nursing homes.
Contact the Southern California Elder Abuse Attorneys at Johnson Moore Today
At Johnson Moore, we know full well that elder abuse victims and their families often face stonewalling, denial, and even intimidation when they try to take action against elder abuse. Our attorneys are compassionate and determined defenders of the elderly, and we will take the time to fully understand your concerns and assess what steps we can take on your behalf. Even if you are unsure of whether you have a valid claim, we look forward to hearing from you to help you explore your options for obtaining the justice you deserve. Contact Johnson Moore today to schedule a free consultation.