Nursing home reform, not tort reform

I have been surfing around on the internet today, and was looking at one of David Swanner’s most recent blog posts, where he talks about Stephanie Mencimer’s blog, The Tortelinni.  That led me to a post on there about tort reform and nursing homes.  That got me thinking . . .

This is an issue we deal with a great deal, and that we fight against every day – the idea that “frivolous lawsuits” are increasing insurance premiums for nursing homes to the point that they might have to close their doors.  Never mind the evidence the feds are not providing the oversight needed to prevent abuse and neglect in nursing homes in the first place.  Nevermind the amount of money some nursing homes are making.

What no one is talking about is the actual lawsuits being filed against these nursing homes.  What no one thinks about is what if it was your mother, your father, your husband or wife who lived in a nursing home where staff wouldn’t answer the call bell to take them to the bathroom, forcing them to lie in their own feces or urine for hours – add to that pressure sores without bandages, so that urine and feces soak into open wounds.  What no one thinks about is what if your family member was given the wrong medication which led to brain damage or even death?  This is not made up stuff, these are the kinds of cases we see all too often.  Put yourself in that position, and then lets talk about “frivolous lawsuits.”

I don’t doubt that there are some frivolous lawsuits out there, but it is an inappropriate response to limit access to the court system for those who have a legitimate claim.  And how long will it be before we tire of hearing the whining of doctors and nursing home owners who are making millions if not billions of dollars a year, despite their claims of riding the ragged edge of bankruptcy?

I read an article not too long ago about a sale of  a national nursing home chain – when the sole owner of the company was asked how he went from a nursing home administrator to buying a national chain for more than $1billion dollars, he stated “America is a great country.  God bless America.  I’ve been planning it for years.”

Someone’s making money in this business.