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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

New law ensures nursing home residents have right to day in court

In late 2016, Medicare issued a rule preventing nursing homes from binding residents with forced arbitration clauses and thus permitting nursing home residents to exercise their rights to resolve disputes in the court system. Previously, it was widespread practice throughout the nursing home industry to force disputes with residents, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, neglect and nursing home malpractice claims into a private arbitration system. This effectively allowed nursing homes to keep some events or allegations away from the general public as most private arbitrations are only accessible to the parties involved.

Neglect, abuse, and harassment are a widespread and deadly serious problem in nursing homes throughout the United States. Often, nursing home misconduct is primarily fueled by the profit motive which incentivizes nursing homes to hire incompetent staff, to under-staff or to outright mistreat patients for the purposes of increasing the profit margin. Cases have been brought where patients have been murdered, strangled by roommates, mistreated by staff, neglected, and outright abused.

Neglect and abuse come in many different forms. Signs often include:

  • ​Bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers)

  • Falls (resulting in serious injury)

  • Malnutrition

  • Dehydration

  • Choking Incidents

  • Medication Errors

  • Loss of dignity

  • Wrongful death​

As Americans, everybody has a legal right to the court system. The court system provides an avenue for nursing home patients to seek legal redress.

The new rules prevent nursing homes (that are receiving federal funding) from enforcing arbitration clauses within their Resident Agreement. This is usually the agreement that patients or their representatives sign upon admission to the facility These arbitration clauses deprive nursing home residents of their right of access to the courts and have long been a practice in the industry. Millions of elderly Americans in nursing homes were unknowingly being deprived of this fundamental right. Arbitration keeps embarrassing practices of nursing homes under the wraps and will generally not show up on a public records search.

If you, a family member or a friend have been injured due to the neglect of others in a nursing home, call Leitner Varughese at (855) LV LAW NY (855-585-2969), or visit our website at

Leitner Varughese PLLC is a cutting-edge litigation and trial law firm uniquely experienced in handling high-profile, complex lawsuits involving serious injuries and wrongful death. The Firm has vast experience in handling cases involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect. In addition to handling these types of cases, Leitner Varughese PLLC routinely and successfully represents victims that have been sustained serious injuries caused by: Construction Accidents Medical Malpractice Motor Vehicle Accidents Trip / Slip & Fall Accidents Labor Law Violations Negligent Premises Security Products Liability Defective Drugs

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