Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits More Likely With Poor Performing Facilities
New research suggests that lawsuits against nursing homes are dropping overall, but poorly performing facilities are more likely to face a nursing home neglect lawsuit than those with better performance.
A study published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that nursing homes where inspectors find the most deficiencies are 10% more likely to be targeted by negligence lawsuits than other facilities. However, researchers say that there should be an even more pronounced disparity between good and bad nursing homes when it comes to lawsuits if nursing home litigation alone were able to change the industry for the better.
Researchers looked at five of the largest nursing home chains in the United States, spanning a time period from 1998 to 2006. They found that during that time, the number of actual lawsuits against nursing homes plummeted; from 1.5 claims per 1,000 residents in 1998 to 0.3 claims per 1,000 residents in 2006.
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The risk of nursing home falls and pressure sores had the strongest correlation between lawsuits and poor performing facilities. Overall, nursing homes with the best records had a 40% annual risk of facing a lawsuit, while the worst performers had a 47% risk.
Nursing home quality and deficiencies were determined using the Online Survey, Certification, and Reporting (OSCAR) system and the Minimum Data Set (MDS) Quality Measure/Indicator Report. OSCAR contains data for all nursing homes with Medicaid and Medicare certification, encompassing 96% of U.S. elderly care facilities.
Researchers said that while there was an association between bad nursing homes and lawsuits, it was weaker than they expected and is an indicator that lawsuits alone cannot address problems of nursing home abuse and neglect. The researchers suggested that recent policy moves toward public reporting of performance indicators and performance-based provider payments could be used to push nursing home quality forward.
SamApril 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm
The main reason for less lawsuits is that most states passed laws limiting the amount to be collected if won to $250,000. Lawsuits are expensive so unless the bad care is life threatening or has resulted in death, it does not pay to sue. This tort reform was not in the public interest. Unless the public gets more involved with the nursing homes in their district the quality of care will never g[Show More]The main reason for less lawsuits is that most states passed laws limiting the amount to be collected if won to $250,000. Lawsuits are expensive so unless the bad care is life threatening or has resulted in death, it does not pay to sue. This tort reform was not in the public interest. Unless the public gets more involved with the nursing homes in their district the quality of care will never get better in the political corrupt system.
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