Does this Bill Protect Elderly Rights?

elderly rightsThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has joined the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and other watchdog groups in opposing state* legislation they say strips the civil rights of nursing home residents. Both groups publicly commented about House Bill 4053 and Senate Bill 4075, which they say allow the nursing home industry to protect its profits while limiting the powers of the elderly to protect themselves legally against injustices.

Gloria Sweet-Love, NAACP State President, said the legislation is being backed by the billion-dollar nursing home industry. NAACP members have balked at the proposed legislation to General Assembly members. Sweet-Love said, “Our parents and grandparents stood up for our rights and now we must stand up for theirs. The nursing home industry is demonstrating how far it will go to protect itself, even if it means stomping on the dignity of the people it should be helping.”

Local news reports showed in 2007 that nursing home violations and admission suspensions set record highs and were more than double those in 2006. State Health Department inspectors found 152 health and safety violations that put nursing home residents in perilous health straits.

Rather than improving care, the industry seeks only to elevate profits while depriving the helpless of the right to seek justice, she said. The proposed legislation – co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah) – forces incoming nursing home residents to agree to caps on non-economic damages from lawsuits against the nursing facility. (Learn about caps passed into law in North Carolina that affect medical malpractice cases.)

The NAACP said lobbyists furtively named the Tennessee legislation “Nursing Home Patient Protection Act of 2008” even though it shuns improving nursing care. Supposedly modeled after similar legislation in other states, this bill does not propose increases in staffing levels, training, inspections or other quality of care monitors, local news reported.


When it comes to the rights of nursing home residents in North Carolina, check out the following:


*The legislation referred to here may affect Tennessee residents. Our nursing home neglect lawyers handle cases in North Carolina, but we thought a look at our neighboring state's law process may help everyone understand the rights of seniors.