The New York Times: Aug.18, 2017 – “Individuals are very vulnerable when they sign contracts to enter a nursing home,” said Kimberly A. Valentine, a lawyer in Orange County, Calif., who has represented scores of nursing home residents. “In many cases, they are transferred from a hospital, and they are in a nursing home bed for several days before the contracts are even signed. The arbitration agreement may be just one page in a voluminous contract of 30 to 40 pages. Most of the people who come to me have no idea they’ve even signed an arbitration agreement.”
By ROBERT PEAR
WASHINGTON — Low-income people and older Americans would find it more difficult to win lawsuits for injuries caused by medical malpractice or defective drugs or medical devices under a bill drafted by House Republicans as part of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.
The bill would impose new limits on lawsuits involving care covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance subsidized by the Affordable Care Act. The limits would apply to some product liability claims, as well as to medical malpractice lawsuits involving doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said the bill would limit “frivolous lawsuits that unnecessarily drive up health care costs.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by the American Association for Justice finds that voters in seven states are decisively opposed to H.R. 1215.
Voters in traditionally “red” states are appalled by a proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives that strips patients and nursing home residents of their legal rights to hold the health care industry accountable if they are injured or killed by a medical provider, or a dangerous drug or device. The bill, deceptively named the “protecting Access to Care Act” (H.R. 1215), is expected to face a vote in Congress soon. According to a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, at least 63% of voters in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah oppose the bill. In all seven states, this coalition of opposition includes majorities and pluralities of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, women, men, and voters in all three age groups polled. Among the seven states polled, the highest level of support for the bill was just 24% while the lowest was 16%.
A very important law in California is silently under attack, and no one knows. It is a law that was designed to protect vulnerable elders and disabled adults. Continue reading
BY MARJIE LUNDSTROM AND PHILLIP REESE
11/10/2014 10:00 AM
11/12/2014 1:15 PM
Last of three parts.
Ten years ago, Pat McGinnis took the state of California to court.
As head of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, McGinnis was peeved that state officials failed to follow the law and collect complete and accurate nursing-home ownership information. What the state did collect, her group charged, was “often outdated and so poorly organized” it was virtually inaccessible to the public.
The advocacy group won its lawsuit, but the fight was not remotely over.
Today, McGinnis’ group is back in court with a new complaint about how the Department of Public Health is overseeing the complex, multilayered nursing-home industry in California. And she is spitting mad over what she calls the department’s “contempt” in keeping its promises to ferret out and fully disclose the identities of California’s nursing-home owners. Read full article
Marisa Conover of Fair Oaks built her career dealing with complicated people and problems. As a former executive with CBS Records International, she handled worldwide distribution of video and merchandising for such artists as Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and The Rolling Stones.
Then she encountered a challenge closer to home.
Conover believes that questionable care at a Roseville nursing home – and the injection of a powerful antipsychotic drug – contributed to the death of her mother in December 2012. Genine Zizzo, a 5-foot-1 widow who had lived in the same Orangevale home for 50 years, died at age 82 following a 10-day stay at Roseville Point Health & Wellness Center.
One nursing home chain operating in California racked up abuse complaints last year at a pace seven times the statewide rate.
A large competitor placed one in every 15 of its long-term residents in restraints.
Still another corporate giant whose nursing homes dominate the Sacramento region experienced high nursing staff turnover at 90 percent of its facilities.
If you’re a consumer anguishing over the placement of a loved one needing full-time nursing, how would you know this?
The short answer: You wouldn’t. Read full article
By Kim Valentine and Anna M. Bruty, Valentine Law Group, APC, The Gavel, Summer 2014, pp. 8-10
In 2009, men and women over the age of 65 accounted for 12% of the U.S. population. That translates into one out of every eight US citizens. Aging Statistics, Department of Health & Human Services, http://www.aoa.gov/aging_statistics/ (May 23, 2014). In the next twenty years, The Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging projects that number to double. (Id.) With this boom in age longevity, more and more Americans will find themselves in need of nursing home services. As sons or daughters, we would like to think that we can prevent our parents from experiencing any physical or mental harm at the hands of others. As lawyers, we would like to think that we will protect our senior population from the tragedy of elderly abuse. But imagine this – your very healthy and vibrant mother or father trips over a rug fracturing their hip ultimately landing him or her in the hospital. That is when you receive a call. A call from the hospital discharge planner stating you need to find a facility for your parent. You may think you have days, but in most circumstances you would be wrong. Instead you will be given just a few short hours to find a nursing facility in which to place your beloved family member for the duration of their recovery. What you do in those next few hours is imperative to ensuring your mom or dad receives the quality of care they need to properly recover. As the population ages, the ability to find a proper nursing home becomes increasingly important to us on both a personal level for our loved ones, and a professional level for our clients. Continue reading
Southwestern Law School Trial Advocacy Team, coached by Valentine Law Group attorney Jennifer Turner, wins the 2012 American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Eighth Annual Law Student Trial Advocacy Regional Competition in Los Angeles, California.