Virginia: Nursing Homes – A Lawyer’s Regulations (October 19, 2016)

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 On September 29, 2016, the United States’ Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released 700+ pages of new comprehensive federal nursing facility regulations and explanatory material that will bear on medical malpractice suits. Pro-resident changes include increased training requirements for all staff (especially for Certified Nursing Assistants), contract employees, and even volunteers, covering resident rights, abuse, neglect, exploitation, and communication.

Notably, CMS’ expansion of patient rights includes a ground-breaking prohibition of nursing homes from using “pre-dispute” arbitration agreements, which many nursing facilities embed in their admission agreements to keep their medical malpractice from court litigation and public scrutiny. Additionally, CMS’ new regulations require that nursing homes develop and implement a baseline care plan for each resident within 48 hours of admission; that the new resident’s CNA and a food/nutrition services staff member participate in the care planning process; and that the resident have greater involvement in the care planning process too.

Consumer Voice, Center for Medicare Advocacy, and Justice in Aging jointly have promoted news releases about CMS’ new regulations. Re “Quality of Care,” these organizations have declared that “inadequate staffing is the greatest problem in nursing facilities today”.

Mr. Waterman handles medical malpractice, vehicle accident and other cases of wrongful death, brain injury and other serious personal injuries. Currently he has a half-dozen cases of wrongful death in Peninsula nursing homes, most arising out of patient falls.