New nursing home legislation passed during the last months of the Bush administration is angering many affected by elderly abuse. The rule designates inspectors and Medicare and Medicaid contractors as federal employees, a group usually shielded from providing evidence for either side in private litigation. The restrictions affect about 16,000 nursing facilities and 3 million residents in the United States. Its effect is to force nursing home negligence litigants to go to greater lengths, including seeking court orders to get inspection reports or depositions. The new nursing home rule generally prohibits state health departments and contractors from participating in private lawsuits involving facilities that are in the federal assistance program without approval by the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. Those who created the rule say that it is necessary to accommodate the hiring of new contractors to make Medicare payments to providers, perform audit and fraud reviews, and do survey, certification and enforcement work for the program. This new rule has already affected the nation’s courtrooms as requests for information about elderly abuse, once fairly routine is now stalled between state and federal officials. This leglislation will affect nursing homes in Chicago, Illinois. To read more about the nursing home legislation, please click the link.