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Old 02-22-2016, 08:48 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Garden State
2,683 posts, read 3,393,899 times
Reputation: 3536

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The 100-year-old mother of Scott Barrows was murdered by her 97-year-old roommate in a nursing home.

Apparently, most nursing home contracts do not let you sue a nursing home if something goes wrong. A case can only go to arbitration, and most judges uphold this in court.

Pivotal Nursing Home Suit Raises a Simple Question: Who Signed the Contract? - The New York Times

Quote:
State regulators are concerned because the secretive nature of arbitration can obscure patterns of wrongdoing from prospective residents and their families. Recently, officials in 16 states and the District of Columbia urged the federal government to deny Medicaid and Medicare money to nursing homes that use the clauses. Between 2010 and 2014, hundreds of cases of elder abuse, neglect and wrongful death ended up in arbitration.
Mr. Barrows has won the first round and it will now go to court next month!

I'm so sorry that he has had to go through this and I hope he wins!

Last edited by NewJerseyMemories; 02-22-2016 at 09:00 PM..
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:55 PM
 
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I pray that he wins. Just on principle I don't like it when companies know they have you by the short hairs.

I'm willing to bet that if you don't sign or accept that clause in the admissions papers -- they won't admit or accept your loved one. That's not right.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:08 AM
 
3,758 posts, read 10,573,231 times
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Saw this article in the Times. What a horrible outcome for the victim's family.

And even the woman who committed the crime - she has been basically put in a mental hospital, as she has not been found competent to stand trial -- i.e. the dementia, not her, comitted the crime.

Just a horribly sad situation all the way around.

I hope the victim's family wins the case. The only reason they have a chance at all is because the son did not have POA when he signed the admitting papers for his mother. If she had signed them herself, or he had had POA - he wouldn't have a leg to stand on in this suit.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:32 AM
 
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Once upon a time....I worked with the behind the scenes claims data of a major nursing home chain. Basically, I saw every claim they had for years and years across numerous states and dozens and dozens of facilities.

There were some pretty horrible claims along with a huge number of mundane claims like missing dentures, rings, falls in the hallway type stuff.

I can see both sides of this argument so here are some points to consider.

Pro Arbitration: Certain parts of the country in particular are absolute cesspools of litigation. They sue over everything and juries packed with mostly idiots that have hardly worked a day in their life will hand out ridiculous lottery winning verdicts. Not to mention the 40k here and 30k there spent defending against crap lawsuits.

Con Arbitration: Some of the nursing homes, especially in good economies have trouble finding good employees and you can often wind up with abuse and other bad actions.

Now you might poo-poo the whole cost of litigation thing but Medicaid pays a fixed (small) amount per day for those without ability to pay full-cost and there are numerous laws about accepting those people etc.

Part of the laws that are aimed at allowing lawsuits are altruism to "protect the elderly"....but a big part of it is trial lawyers that want to suck $5million paydays out of a facility over the death of a 100 year old man.

The argument that this obscures wrongdoing smells to me because these should all be state regulated and incidents should be tracked in that manner.

I can see the merits of both.

IMO I think that you could accomplish both goals by keeping the arbitration BUT having large fines and so forth from the state for wrongdoing. This keeps the frivolous and lottery style litigation in check but at the same time holds the facilities accountable and keeps records of events to spot wrongdoing etc.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:30 PM
 
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A person shouldn't have to waive the right to sue, to get the care an elder needs.
In many cases it's not like there are other options. The family is stuck.
Of course they don't HAVE to sign. But if they don't the facility won't accept the person. That's just not right.
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Old 02-23-2016, 05:00 PM
 
6,557 posts, read 3,777,636 times
Reputation: 15204
Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
A person shouldn't have to waive the right to sue, to get the care an elder needs.
In many cases it's not like there are other options. The family is stuck.
Of course they don't HAVE to sign. But if they don't the facility won't accept the person. That's just not right.

I agree, we should not have to sign away the right to sue. Unfortunately this clause is in almost every contract you sign now. I first ran into it with Realtors. It's one of those little boxes you check and initial.
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Old 02-23-2016, 08:59 PM
 
2,631 posts, read 3,344,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
A person shouldn't have to waive the right to sue, to get the care an elder needs.
In many cases it's not like there are other options. The family is stuck.
Of course they don't HAVE to sign. But if they don't the facility won't accept the person. That's just not right.
I completely agree.

And FYI - you know all of those internet contracts that we click "I agree" on every day ... like when you set up online banking, get a new credit card, install new software, buy a car etc... Most of them also include a clause saying you agree to arbitration only if you sue.

Are You Giving Up Your Right to Sue Without Knowing It? - Consumer Reports
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Old 02-24-2016, 12:12 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Garden State
2,683 posts, read 3,393,899 times
Reputation: 3536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
Once upon a time....I worked with the behind the scenes claims data of a major nursing home chain. Basically, I saw every claim they had for years and years across numerous states and dozens and dozens of facilities.

There were some pretty horrible claims along with a huge number of mundane claims like missing dentures, rings, falls in the hallway type stuff.

I can see both sides of this argument so here are some points to consider.

Pro Arbitration: Certain parts of the country in particular are absolute cesspools of litigation. They sue over everything and juries packed with mostly idiots that have hardly worked a day in their life will hand out ridiculous lottery winning verdicts. Not to mention the 40k here and 30k there spent defending against crap lawsuits.

Con Arbitration: Some of the nursing homes, especially in good economies have trouble finding good employees and you can often wind up with abuse and other bad actions.

Now you might poo-poo the whole cost of litigation thing but Medicaid pays a fixed (small) amount per day for those without ability to pay full-cost and there are numerous laws about accepting those people etc.

Part of the laws that are aimed at allowing lawsuits are altruism to "protect the elderly"....but a big part of it is trial lawyers that want to suck $5million paydays out of a facility over the death of a 100 year old man.

The argument that this obscures wrongdoing smells to me because these should all be state regulated and incidents should be tracked in that manner.

I can see the merits of both.

IMO I think that you could accomplish both goals by keeping the arbitration BUT having large fines and so forth from the state for wrongdoing. This keeps the frivolous and lottery style litigation in check but at the same time holds the facilities accountable and keeps records of events to spot wrongdoing etc.
I am sure that there are many frivolous lawsuits against nursing homes. However, this case is so horrifying and was so preventable! That poor lady living to 100 and dying in such a tragic way I feel so sorry for the son and I hope that he wins.
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Old 02-24-2016, 07:06 AM
 
51,435 posts, read 41,466,221 times
Reputation: 32158
Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
A person shouldn't have to waive the right to sue, to get the care an elder needs.
In many cases it's not like there are other options. The family is stuck.
Of course they don't HAVE to sign. But if they don't the facility won't accept the person. That's just not right.
So what occurs in arbitration that you would feel you are missing out on as opposed to a court trial?

The only one I can readily think of is the potential for a huge punitive damages win which isn't even possible in a number of states depending upon their laws.

Basically, I think if it were bad enough that you could claim they didn't uphold the contract and thus it's void rendering the arbitration language void as well.

It's an interesting situation, that's for sure.
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Old 02-24-2016, 07:08 AM
 
51,435 posts, read 41,466,221 times
Reputation: 32158
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewJerseyMemories View Post
I am sure that there are many frivolous lawsuits against nursing homes. However, this case is so horrifying and was so preventable! That poor lady living to 100 and dying in such a tragic way I feel so sorry for the son and I hope that he wins.
I agree, but what different outcome will occur that arbitration wouldn't have arrived at? The amount of the award? Publicity? I don't know if there was a gag as part of arbitration.
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