In November 2022, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Health and Hospital Corporation v. Talevski. The case, filed by Ivanka Talevski, argues that her husband’s rights detailed in the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act were violated while he was a resident of one of Health and Hospital Corporation’s nursing homes.
Health and Hospital Corporation appealed rulings in favor of Talevski, claiming residents are not able to seek private legal action under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act.
On June 8, 2023, the Supreme Court rejected Health and Hospital Corporation’s counterargument. In a 7 to 2 vote, the justices upheld the rights of millions of Medicare and Medicaid recipients throughout the nation to pursue legal action if they experience nursing home abuse.
Understanding Health and Hospital Corporation v. Talevski
Ivanka Talevski first filed her case in 2019 under Section 1983 of the U.S. Code, which allows individuals the right to sue for any violations of their civil rights. As a recipient of Medicaid, Talevski believed her husband’s rights under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act were violated.
Talevski’s husband, Gorgi Talevski, was heavily medicated and sedated instead of being treated for dementia while a resident at Valparaiso Care in Indiana, a facility that Health and Hospital Corporation managed. She also stated that he was transferred to another facility without proper notification.
Health and Hospital Corporation argued that their facilities took all necessary actions to care for Talevski’s husband. Despite local courts ruling in favor of Talevski, the corporation appealed, sending the case to the Supreme Court. Health and Hospital Corporation claimed that Section 1983 cannot be used to enforce rights that are only detailed when receiving federal funds like Medicare and Medicaid.
For months, AARP representatives and many other advocates for nursing home residents called on the Supreme Court to rule in favor of Talevski and uphold the rights of nursing home residents no matter how their care is paid for.
More than 20 briefs were filed to provide information and arguments for the case, detailing the importance for nursing home residents to have access to legal action if their rights are violated.
The Importance of Lawsuits for Residents’ Rights
In 1987, the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act established a number of rights to which residents of nursing homes were entitled if they were receiving Medicaid or Medicare.
Some of these rights nursing home residents are entitled to include:
- Right to a dignified existence free of abuse
- Right to be fully informed of care they are receiving
- Right to raise grievances
- Right to self-determination to decide care, activities, and more
Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect can happen when these rights are not protected or otherwise violated. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is too common and seems to be growing worse due to severe understaffing and an aging population.
The Supreme Court ruling ensures individuals can pursue legal help if their rights are not upheld or if they suffer preventable injuries like broken bones or stage 4 bedsores. Families of nursing home residents may also be able to file wrongful death claims if a negligent care facility causes their loved one to die.
Pursuing justice through legal options allows residents or their surviving family members to hold abusers accountable and prevent abuse from happening again.
Protecting and Advocating for Residents
Nursing Home Abuse Justice celebrates this decision from the Supreme Court that avoided such a dangerous precedent. Our team will continue to advocate for resources and excellent care for all nursing home residents.
Justice for nursing home abuse can be achieved. If a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect while at a nursing home or long-term care facility, we are here to help.
We can connect you with lawyers and other resources in your area to help you fight for those you love. Contact us today at (800) 896-7040 to learn more.