Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse among Worst in Nation
Nursing home neglect and abuse is a nationwide problem. Some of our most vulnerable citizens are at risk of being injured or even killed simply because of where they live because they can no longer care for themselves. Unfortunately, Kentucky ranks very low in the quality of nursing home care provided to its residents, and a bill that was recently passed by a state Senate committee will most likely not help matters.
According to the national nursing home database provided by Medicaid, 40% of Kentucky nursing homes rank below Medicaid’s average standard of care. Kentucky also has the dubious honor of being the state with the most federal fines for nursing home violations in 2012. We also have the highest number of serious nursing home deficiencies in the U.S. One would think that these facts would impact the profitability of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but it does not. Nursing home profits continue to increase exponentially even while the economy suffers and profits in other industries have fallen. Why is this the case? Because nursing homes have guaranteed customers. No matter how bad the economy is, there will always be a need for long-term care for our elderly or incapacitated residents.
A proposed bill that was recently passed by a state Senate committee is definitely not a step in the right direction for those who have suffered from nursing home neglect or abuse in Kentucky. The proposed bill would add an extra step for victims of nursing home abuse and their families. Before a nursing home personal injury or wrongful death case could be heard in court, it would have to be reviewed by a medical panel selected by both sides. This added step would force the victim to wait even longer for any compensation owed, and could potentially increase legal fees. There is also a concern that these medical review boards would be biased against the victim because the doctors on the boards would not want to say anything against a nursing home or assisted living facility that might retaliate by severing business ties.
Proponents for the bill say this review process would help weed out unnecessary claims that allegedly cost nursing homes a lot of money to defend. Opponents of the bill say that if nursing homes provided the quality care they should be that the number of lawsuits would automatically decline because the abuse and neglect would decline. It is our hope that this bill does not pass and that those injured in nursing homes will maintain the right to take legal action without suffering through this extra process. If you or a loved one has suffered neglect or abuse in a nursing home, an experienced Kentucky nursing home attorney such as Steve Frederick can assist you with any questions you may have.
SB 9: The Wrong Bill for Kentucky Seniors; The National Consumer Voice
Senate committee approves panel to review nursing home suits; The Courier-Journal; Jessie Halladay; February 6, 2013