No…the title of this post is not an over statement! The Bush administration shut off a source of information last fall about abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities that people suing nursing homes consider crucial to their cases. The change, which affects the $144 billion nursing-home industry, was enacted with no public notice or attention.
The rule designates state inspectors and Medicare and Medicaid contractors as federal employees, a group usually shielded from providing evidence for either side in private litigation.
The restrictions affect about 16,000 nursing facilities and 3 million residents in the United States. The practical effect is to force litigants to go to greater lengths and costs to get inspection reports or depositions for cases they are pursuing or defending.
In Virginia, families can file a complaint with the state which results in an investigation of the nursing home. At the conclusion of the investigation, a report of the findings is made available to the family or resident who filed the complaint. If a lawsuit is subsequently filed, the information uncovered by the investigator can prove crucial to the success of the victim of the abuse.
My Question: Why would the Bush administration (remember “compassionate conservatism”) do this to the victims of elder abuse? Could money be the explanation?