The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act Allows a Private Cause of Action, 7th Circuit Rules

April 1, 2022 | Aging Services Risk Management


​An individual with dementia was admitted to a state-run nursing facility in January 2016. His family alleged that his condition worsened during his stay there. In August 2016, his daughter noted a deterioration of his cognitive abilities. In September 2016, she requested a list of his medications, which revealed that 6 of the 10 medications he was taking were strong psychotropic medications. Later that year, the nursing facility began trying to effect an involuntary transfer of the resident, ultimately placing him at a facility an hour away.

The resident, through his spouse, filed suit in January 2019, in which he alleged violations of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA). Specifically, the suit alleged violations of two rights under FNHRA: (1) the resident's right to be free from chemical restraints imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience rather than treatment; and (2) the resident's right not to be transferred or discharged unless certain criteria are met. The issue at hand was whether FNHRA creates a private cause of action. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that it does create such a cause of action. (Talevski v. Health & Hosp. Corp., 6...

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