Murphy's brother is her mother's legal guardian, and Murphy does not have enough money to file a lawsuit against the home.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved a rule in September that elderly advocates say has made it more difficult for people like Murphy to get key information about suspected abuse and neglect in the 16,000 U.S. long-term care facilities.
Under the new rule, nursing homes are no longer inspected by the state in which they are located, but by the federal government. State inspectors and Medicare and Medicaid contractors are now designated federal employees, a group usually shielded from providing evidence from either side in private litigation.
The rule was justified as necessary to accommodate the hiring of new contractors to make Medicare payments to providers and perform other work for the program. But the change is forcing litigants to go to greater lengths — including seeking court orders — to get inspection reports or depositions for cases they are pursuing or defending.
Advocates for the elderly also claim the change hurts nursing-home residents and their families by allowing bad practices to be kept secret by nursing homes and inspectors.
Lawyers on both sides of the issue are considering how to approach President Barack Obama's administration to get rid of the rule.
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Rule leaves nursing home inspections in limbo
New Rule Hurts Nursing-Home Residents