Nursing homes without liability insurance

Randy Ellis staff writer for has a sad story about a neglected resident who did not get questions or compensation because the nursing home had no assets and no liability insurance.  Below are excerpts of the story:

The story refers to a family who received a telephone call that their mother had been injured at The Gardens nursing home in Sapulpa. Hospital X-rays revealed her mother had suffered spiral fractures to both legs.  Since that type of injury often is caused by abuse or neglect, the family sued the nursing home to get answers about what happened.  However, the nursing home had no medical liability insurance coverage.

The number of nursing homes that have dropped medical liability insurance coverage has skyrocketed in recent years. There are now at least 56 uninsured homes with 6,621 beds, according to the Tulsa-based Oklahoma Center for Consumer & Patient Safety.
“Based on information provided to the Center, over 20 percent of the beds in Oklahoma are in nursing homes that refuse to carry insurance,” said Hugh M. Robert, executive director of the nonprofit group. “A state study last year speculated the number may be as high as 65 percent.”

Legislation introduced by Sen. Richard Lerblance, D-Hartshorne, would require nursing homes either to carry medical liability insurance or prove they have sufficient assets to pay substantial damages if they are found responsible for injuries caused by abuse or neglect.  It is difficult for consumers to discover that information on their own because nursing home owners often play a “corporate shell game.”

One woman had maggots crawling out of her air cast because employees at her Oklahoma City nursing home had not cleaned beneath it and open pressure sores had developed. An Edmond nursing home patient was left on a bed pan so long her tail bone stuck to it, and a woman at a Frederick nursing home died after becoming so dehydrated that her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth, attorneys said.