In his final days as the President, George W. Bush, secretly enacted federal rules which appear to hamper the public's ability to present valuable evidence of abuse and neglect in nursing home trials. The former President enacted a rule that unilaterally declares state investigators and regulators as "federal employees" as it relates to their investigations of allegations of abuse and neglect in nursing homes. As "federal employees" these State investigators and regulators will not be able to testify against nursing homes in civil trials concerning resident abuse and neglect.
Typically, families who suspect abuse or neglect in a nursing home contact State Investigators and/or Regulators to lodge complaints surrounding the care of their loved ones. These State Investigators and Regulators investigate the allegations, and issue reports detailing their findings. Often, these reports are the evidence that solidify a family's resolve to contact a private lawyer to assert a claim against the negligent nursing home. Moreover, these State Reports stand as the basis for regulatory fines against these bad nursing homes.
Thanks to the former President, victims of nursing home abuse CANNOT even use independent, State Investigations to assist the prosecution of their claims. Think about it – The State can investigate a nursing home and unequivocally determine that it has been abusing its residents, and that resident CANNOT use that evidence in Court!
Despite the former President's giveaway to the multi-billion dollar nursing home industry, I urge all people with family in nursing homes to report any suspected abuse to State Regulators and/or private nursing home attorneys. In West Virginia, you may report allegations of nursing home abuse and/or neglect to the State Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification.