State Health Department Adds Disclaimer To Deny Incident Reports' Use In Nursing Home Lawsuits

A disclaimer on a state health department’s website is causing alarm for nursing home patients and attorneys defending families against nursing home abuse and neglect.  The disclaimer notes that survey and incident reports are not intended to be used in lawsuits.  The primary frustration related to the disclaimer issued by the health department is that the nursing home industry lobbied for and helped write the disclaimer.

There is a clear conflict when the state health department put in place to uphold the standard of quality care for nursing homes is swayed by the very industry they are holding accountable to aid in relieving them from some of that accountability when it comes to court.  An attorney representing a nursing home patient due to food, water and medicine deprivation found the disclaimer unfathomable.  The attorney planned to validate the deprivation with inspection reports that cited the nursing home for inadequate staffing and failure to prevent residents from dehydration.

Family members with loved ones in nursing homes say, “We need to challenge the state to make a change.  That’s not fair to us. That’s not fair to patients. It’s not right”.  After being approached regarding the disclaimer, the state health department changed the wording from disclaimer to explainer. For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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