AOMs and Nursing Home Litigation in NY

Many jurisdictions require some version of an affidavit of merit (AOM) in order to proceed with a malpractice claim. (Here's a helpful 50-state survey of AOM requirements LINK). In New York, CPLR §3012-a requires an AOM to accompany the complaint for all medical malpractice actions. Specifically, this affidavit has to declare that an attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, and has consulted with at least one physician, and that there is a reasonable basis for the commencement of the action. This requirement ensures that there is at least some legitimate basis for proceeding this the lawsuit, and can serve to reduce frivolous litigation.
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New Policies have “Chilling Effect” on Immigrants Employed in Long Term Care

The Trump administration's immigration policies are reportedly impacting immigrants who are involved in the long-term care ("LTC") workforce. Specifically, the policies could make it harder to find workers for these jobs. According to a study published by Health Affairs, immigrants make up nearly one quarter of the LTC workforce, in a profession which struggles to retain labor. Immigrants make up 23.5 percent of the long-term care workforce, which includes family caregivers. Twelve percent of these immigrants are naturalized citizens, eight percent are legal non-citizens, and 3.7 percent are undocumented immigrants.
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New Illinois LTC Law Addresses Staffing Deficiencies

In June 2019, the Illinois State Legislature passed a bill to address nursing home staffing by vastly increasing funding for struggling long-term care facilities. Under the law, the 2020 fiscal year budget increases nursing home providers’ budgets by $240 million to be shared equally by the State and Federal governments, with $70 million allocated to assist facilities to meet staffing requirements. Arguably, there is a direct correlation between staffing and incidents that may give rise to litigation. Financial and staffing components often directly factor into the quality of care residents receive, and legislative action such as that undertaken by Illinois is critical to improve the care long-term care facilities provide.
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NY Nursing Home Litigation: Double Recovery?

An alarming trend has emerged among the plaintiff’s bar in Long-Term Care litigation. Plaintiffs are alleging a right to recovery for death, or other injuries, under both the negligence/wrongful death standards (i.e. pain and suffering and pecuniary loss), and the Public Health Law (§2801-d). Historically, when there is a death resulting from negligence, the recovery is limited to pecuniary loss, but, now the plaintiff’s bar is arguing that when an elderly person who was a resident of a nursing home dies, as a result of a violation of the public health law, the recovery for death should be whatever a jury determines life is worth, even when there is no provable pecuniary loss.
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Arbitration Ban in Nursing Homes? White House Reviewing Rule

The White House Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") is reviewing a final rule to reverse a 2016 regulation banning nursing home operators from entering into pre-dispute arbitration clauses with their residents as a condition of participating in Medicare and Medicaid. According to the OMB’s web site, the rule “removes provisions prohibiting binding pre-dispute arbitration and strengthens requirements regarding the transparency of arbitration agreements in LTC facilities.” Per the OMB, the rule facilitates “the resident’s right to make informed choices about important aspects of his or her healthcare” and eliminates unnecessary burdens on long-term care providers.
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