Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nursing homes pour more into drive to limit lawsuits over nursing home abuses

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 3:56 PM

The committee working to amend the Arkansas Constitution to put a chilling effect on lawsuits against nursing homes for abuse and neglect reported today contributions of another $293,500 to the cause, almost all from nursing homes.

The group spent almost $350,000 in the month, mostly for the group paid to gather signatures on petitions to put the measure on the ballot. It would put the value of a human life in a nursing home at no more than $250,000. Should a patient die from abuse, a lawsuit could recover no more than that in non-economic damages (few nursing home patients can claim employment income) and limit attorney fees to a third of the recovery.

Nursing homes put up more than $300,000 for the campaign last month. By spending more than a half-million just to gather signatures, you get an idea of how much this amendment is worth to nursing homes, organized under the misleading name of Health Care Access for Arkansas.

A group lead by a nursing home patient care advocate has organized to fight the amendment, but it hasn't yet filed a financial report.

If the nursing homes spend $3 or $4 million to win passage of this amendment, they'll spend less than a Faulkner County jury voted unanimously ($5.2 million) to award the family who died in a Michael Morton-owned nursing home after staff failed to follow a doctor's hospitalization order. 

PS. Morton homes accounted for $120.000 of the new money reported today. 

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