Nursing homes provide an essential service in America; they offer necessary care for the elders in our communities, skilled nursing for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as many other important care and nursing services that most elderly Americans cannot live without. However, just because they are necessary, does not mean they are without flaws. That’s why it is dangerous to allow nursing homes any sort of legal immunity, especially in the wake of the pandemic which opened the eyes of many and exposed the often neglectful conditions in nursing homes across the country.
The Issue with Immunity
In recent months, many nursing homes and long-term care facilities have sought legal immunity from any negligence during the pandemic. Nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths occured in nursing homes and care facilities, making America’s elders one of the largest groups affected by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, many care facilities have been advocating for immunity for all care facilities in order to protect themselves from any civil liability regarding the deaths and neglect that occurred on their watch. And states are complying.
“Many states have provided immunity from civil liability to nursing homes and/or healthcare providers, while other states have passed laws providing immunity from criminal liability.”Consumer Voice
What’s worse, now Congress is considering similar legislation that would limit the ability of nursing home residents and their families to hold their care facility accountable for any neglect, insufficient care, and even death during the pandemic.
In addition, the care facilities that experienced the highest mortality rates during the pandemic were those who already struggled to maintain high quality care. Immunity would eliminate all incentives to improve care and facility conditions, leading to continued harm, neglect, and abuse for residents.
What You Can Do
In a time when we need more accountability, stricter care standards, better staffing, more transparency, and more responsible administrations and management, this push for immunity should not stand. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has joined a coalition of residents and other concerned parties to lobby against any legislation that would grant nursing homes immunity, and the best way you can show your support of these efforts is to contact your congressman directly, state your opposition and provide them with the resources found here.
Learn more about immunity in states where this legislation has passed here.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) today for a free consultation and the best in legal representation.