Elderly Lives Matter®

Supreme court ruling protects nursing home residents

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

A landmark Supreme Court ruling may impact elders and families in Florida reached in June 2023. The Supreme Court upheld the right to sue public nursing homes for violating rights protected by the federal laws governing the sector. The ruling affirmed the 7-2 appeals court decision that private individuals might sue over rights protected by the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA. The case arises from plaintiffs’ complaints over their elderly family member’s mistreatment at a nursing home.

Understanding the Talevski case

Mr. Talevski was moved into an Indiana county-run nursing home in 2016. Tavelski’s family claimed his dementia deteriorate after entering the Valparaiso Care and Rehabilitation home. They eventually learned staff was chemically restraining him, and his faculties returned once the medications were reduced. According to court rulings, the home then claimed Tavelski’s harassment of female staff and residents required sending them to a psychiatric hospital. The home then tried to permanently move Talevski to a dementia facility without ever notifying the family.

More on the nursing home case

Mrs. Talevski filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, the managing company, and the Hospital Corporation of Marion County (HHC), asserting they’d violated Tavelski’s civil rights protected by the FNHRA. The appeals county reversed the district court’s ruling, finding that the law allowed nursing home residents to sue for civil rights violations. This ruling provides residents at Medicaid -supported facilities with administrative and federal court remedies for nursing home abuse & neglect. The HHC brought the case before the Supreme Court.

Talevski, a Medicaid recipient, passed away in 2021 and his family attributes his deteriorating health to the mistreatment at the facility. Over-medicating or using chemical restraint, as the FNHRA prohibits discipline. The ruling now allows residents to sue facilities owned by the county, state, or Veterans Administration. The decision was received as a critical victory for nursing home residents, anyone with disabilities and those protected by Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

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