Nursing homes are regulated under many different types of federal and state laws. The main goal of nursing home laws is to protect vulnerable nursing home resident from abuse or neglect while living in the nursing home.
Federal law does not provide a direct remedy for nursing home abuse or neglect, but may be able to guide state law on the topic. If there is no clear private right of action to enforce nursing home residents’ rights, Federal regulations and law may provide the best starting point when looking for relevant nursing home laws that may affect your situation.
Federal Nursing Home Laws
Residents and their families can combat institutional elder abuse through negligence per se and ordinary negligence actions.Under state law, resident may want to include causes of action for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, battery, infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, wrongful death, breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, violation of consumer protection law, and/or conversion. Under federal law, resident may want to list causes of action based on False Claims Act, RICO, ADA, Fair Housing Amendments Act and/or Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act.
Nursing homes participating in Medicaid and Medicare Programs must comply with certain nursing home laws relating to the health and safety of their residents.
State Nursing Home Laws
These standards are generally enforced by state agencies. State nursing home laws are very different, but are generally more demanding the nationwide federal standards. Specifically, state laws are the most specific in terms of standards of care, wrongful death lawsuits, and medical malpractice. Damages are also often limited by specific state statutes. It may be useful to check with the local health department for specific regulations in your state. An experienced nursing home attorney will also be able to answer basic questions about state nursing home laws and their effect on your specific situation.