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Slow Medicare Process Disrupting Nursing Home Lawsuits

Our Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys understand that there are often many complexities involved in seeking recovery for mistreatment at a long-term care facility. Far from being a straightforward process whereby a victim shares their story and receive the recovery to which they are entitled, many victims must jump through many hoops before receiving justice. The already disheartening complications present in the system make all attempts to make it even harder for victims to recover particularly misguided.

Many community members fail to appreciate all that is involved in a nursing home abuse lawsuit. For example, as a new story posted at Fighting for Justice explained, red-tape at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) often resulting in problems for abuse victims. When a victim of mistreatment recovers damages, CMS is usually able to recoup expenses that it paid that victim for the care received. However, frequently CMS is slow to calculate the amount of money that they are owed because of an inefficient Medicare Secondary Payer process.

Following a successful trial or a fair settlement, a victim still must wait to receive their funds until the Medicare calculation process is complete. When CMS delays, a serious financial burden is often placed on those victims who are struggling to keep up with health care expenses and lost wages. Amazingly, in some cases CMS officials do not calculate a final amount until years after a judgment or settlement is reached. Nursing home abuse victims are left in the lurch that entire time.

The severe injustice and hardship that this creates has led many advocates to push for changes. Diverse groups from the American Association for Justice to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have called on CMS to streamline the process. These organizations explain how the inefficiency directly hurts society’s most vulnerable members, besides being incredibly wasteful of taxpayer money. In some cases the amounts of money that CMS demands as part of the repayment is so small that the processing costs are even larger than the amount collects. In these situations, the victims suffer all in a system that actually results in a net loss for taxpayers.

These advocates are throwing their support behind a new bill to fix the situation known as the Medicare Secondary Payer Enhancement Act. The bill would set a time limit on how long Medicare has to notify parties of the amount owed to the program. Medicare would lose its right to collect if it waited long. As it now stands, the program is not penalized for even the longest delays.

Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti work hard to provide fast, efficient, fair justice for all those injured by inadequate nursing home treatment. Our professionals are well aware of the various bureaucratic issues that stand in the way of victims receiving the funds to which we they are entitled. We support all efforts that improve the process so that victims do not face prolonged hardship that could be ended if government officials performed at a reasonable rate of speed. There is no excuse for the delay which only works to further injure those who have already been mistreated.

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