In 2013, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, 44.7 million people in the United States, one in 7 people, were over the age of 65. Seniors comprised 14.1% of the population, up 24.7% since 2003. By 2040, 21.7% of the population will be over the age of 65, and they will total 98 million by 2060. By 2050, the World Health Organization reports that the global population of seniors is projected to total 1.5 billion. By approximately 2018, the population above 65 will exceed the population below age 5 for the first time in the history of census data collection. That gap is expected to widen with fewer and fewer younger members of society to support and care for their senior family members. Combine these statistics with the medical issues related to living longer and the increasing work and family demands on caregivers and the formula is compelling when considering the demands that will be placed on the long term care industry. We are facing an enormous growth in services for the aging sector of our society.
As long term care facilities grow to meet the demands of the aging population, they will require increasing legal services in the areas of formation, corporate governance, mergers, acquisitions, sales, real estate purchase and zoning, licensing, employment, regulatory compliance, management policies and practices, premises liability, worker’s compensation, services contracting, professional liability, discrimination claims, intellectual property matters, Board complaints and agency investigations. Facilities are being purchased and sold at an increasing rate. Their business structures are becoming increasingly complicated. They are already targets of litigious family members with potentially unrealistic expectations. These trends will increase with the increase in the demands on the facilities, their burgeoning censuses and the litigious nature of society.
In response to these compelling demographics and the inevitable growth in the long term care industry, LeClairRyan has assembled a team of long term care attorneys in 11 states dedicated to serving the legal needs of the long term care industry. Part of that mission includes providing education on daily legal issues and supporting the growth of the long term care industry. We understand that facilities and their management companies have relatively few sources to consult for general information and guidance. With this blog, we expect to assist with filling that void.
Our Long Term Care Industry Team will populate this blog with antidotes and reflections related to a vast array of legal issues we have handled over time for our long term care clients. We will apply our experience and discuss generally the pros and cons of arbitration clauses in admission agreements, how to handle employee discrimination complaints, what to include in policies and procedures and how to protect against their misuse, what to do when a catastrophic event occurs, how to respond to a family member wanting a video camera in a resident room, appeal of regulatory agency adverse findings and many other topics that facilities and management companies deal with on a daily basis or that may be an issue of first impression. We will provide information on common real estate, intellectual property and corporate management issues unique to the industry. Our mission is to be a sounding board and go-to site for information that can assist long term care facilities. Of course, this blog is for educational purposes only and to offer general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. We urge that online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel in the reader’s home jurisdiction.
We are excited about assisting a vital and important segment of society and look forward to presenting useful information with daily application. Toward that end, our upcoming topic will be arbitration clauses in admission agreements and the value of arbitration to resolve disputes.