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TIME SENSITIVE - ELDER ABUSE PROTECTIONS BEING GUTTED - PLEASE CALL YOUR CONGRESSPERSON AND SENATOR TODAY!

H.R. 1215 will be discussed in the federal House of Representatives June 28 and 29, 2017! Hidden within H.R. 1215 is language that will gut elder abuse protections in California and across the United States. Although the House vote on the bill had previously been delayed, it is back with a vengeance. You can read H.R. 1215 at www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1215/text.

If H.R. 1215 passes and becomes law, lawsuits on behalf of elderly and disabled adults who suffered tragic injuries and heartbreaking deaths will no longer be feasible.  If you are or have been our client, you know first-hand the kind of tragic injuries that can happen to an elder or dependent adult when a facility recklessly neglects their residents. Examples of cases brought on behalf of the elderly across our state include:

  • A nursing home illegally "dumped" a blind and oxygen-dependent resident at a motel with ramen noodles and a broken oxygen tank. He died 3 days later from no oxygen.
  • An 88-year-old stroke sufferer was raped by nursing home worker and contracted genital herpes. (www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation)
  • An 80-year-old woman with dementia was left unattended and walked out of a locked dementia unit. She walked down multiple streets and parking lots until she was hit by a truck going 35 mph. She died from blunt force trauma.

We CANNOT let H.R. 1215 become law. Please contact your federal representatives and demand they vote NO against H.R. 1215. Here's how:

1. Send a letter to Congress online: www.takejusticeback.com/ProtectMyRightToFight

2. Call your federal House Representative. You can find his or her phone number here: www.house.gov/representatives/find. See below for a sample script to use in your call.

3. Call Senator Diane Feinstein at (202) 224-3841.

4. Call Senator Kamala Harris at (202) 224-3553.

Tell them your story, or a story from the tragic injuries that happen to elders across this state every day in long-term care facilities. Tell them you stand on the side of the elderly and you believe in an elder's right to seek recovery for their injuries. Your voice will make a difference! Please call us at (415) 362-9800 if you have any questions. (See attachedMiitary & Veteran Groups Opposition To H.R. 1215.pdfOrganizations opposed to HR 1215.pdf letters from Veterans and Consumers groups opposed to this bill.)

SAMPLE PHONE SCRIPT:

OPTION 1: use this if your congressperson SUPPORTS H.R. 1215

Caller: Good morning/afternoon! Can you let me know the Congressman/woman's position on H.R. 1215?

Staffer: Thank you for calling! Congressman/woman _____ believes that H.R. 1215 will protect access to health care by reducing costs from medical malpractice lawsuits.

Caller: H.R. 1215 is horrible to seniors! Veterans and elder advocacy groups, and states' rights advocates are all opposing this terrible bill. If it passes and becomes law, our Elder Abuse laws will be gutted.

You know that in California, we already have a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases and limits on attorneys fees? But our state legislature recognized over 20 years ago that elders are subjected to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and that this state has a responsibility to protect these persons. It was a bold statement by our state legislature when they passed the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act - and H.R. 1215 aims to take away our state's right to protect our elderly and disabled citizens.

And even more mean-spirited is that this bill will specifically affect the right of over 2.3 million California elderly and disabled people on Medi-Cal to sue for recovery if they are neglected and injured in a nursing home. This is unacceptable.

Staffer: Personal Injury lawyers are just worried about protecting their contingency fees.

Caller: That is not true. Every day an elder or disabled adult is injured in nursing homes due to reckless neglect. Nursing homes are BIG BUSINESS!

Some examples of real cases include:

o A nursing home illegally "dumped" a blind and oxygen-dependent resident at a motel with ramen noodles and a broken oxygen tank. He died 3 days later from no oxygen.

o An 88-year-old stroke sufferer was raped by nursing home worker and contracted genital herpes.

o An 80-year-old woman with dementia was left unattended and walked out of a locked dementia unit. She walked down multiple streets and parking lots until she was hit by a truck going 35 mph. She died from blunt force trauma.

This is unacceptable and I demand that Congressman/woman ________ vote "no" on H.R. 1215.

Will Congressman/woman _______ commit, publicly, to voting against H.R. 1215?

Staffer: I will certainly pass on your concerns to the Congressman.

Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information to let me know when the Congressman/woman has made up his/her mind. I'm eager to hear what s/he decides. My vote in the next election depends on how s/he supports our elderly.


OPTION 2: use if your congressperson is ON RECORD OPPOSING H.R. 1215

Caller: Good morning/afternoon! Can you let me know the Congressman/woman's position on H.R. 1215?

Staffer: Thank you for calling! Congressman Bob believes that H.R. 1215 is bad for our elders and s/he plans to vote against it.

Caller: That's great! I'm calling to say that if Congressman/woman _____ truly believes, as I do, that our poorest elderly and disabled adults in California need to be protected, s/he should do everything s/he can to protect the historic California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. It was a bold move for the California Legislature to take leadership against elder abuse over 20 years ago - and it's our state's right to protect our elders and disabled adults. Congressman/woman ____ should do everything in his/her power to prevent House Republicans from moving forward with H.R. 1215.

Veterans and elder advocacy groups, and states' rights advocates are all opposing this terrible bill. Will you commit, publicly, to opposing H.R. 1215?

Staffer: Yes!

Caller: Wonderful. This is extremely important to me and I will be watching closely. Thank you for your time.


A few facts to remember when speaking to your representative's staff:

· H.R. 1215 caps pain and suffering and punitive (non-economic) damages at $250,000 - no matter how egregious the neglect of an elder or dependent adult - whether multiple falls and fractures, bedsores with infection down to the bone for failing to turn the patient, or an elderly demented woman being raped by an employee and getting an STD.

· This bill does not cap "economic damages" (e.g. actual lost earnings, and actual cost of medical care due to the injury) - but if an elder has a short life expectancy, has no job or already was in a nursing home so they don't incur more actual costs from their injury - aren't they (and their family) just as entitled to recovery for their excruciating pain or death as a younger person?

· If a case has low economic damages and attorney's fees are capped - it's not economically feasible for an attorney to file a complaint in these hard-to-prove cases.

· California passed the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act over 20 years ago to protect this vulnerable population

· H.R. 1215 specifically affects the elderly and dependent adults who pay for their health care using federal benefits (i.e. Medi-Cal and Medicare) - once again hurting our poorest Californians.

· Over 1.2 million California elderly and over 1.1 million disabled Californians are on Medi-Cal; all Californians 65 and older qualify for Medicare.

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