Alabama nursing homes cry foul over lawsuits

posted on:
February 4, 2003

Ben Plaut

Could care for Alabama’s elderly be in jeopardy because of law suits? Tuesday the Alabama Nursing Home Association said lawsuits filed against Alabama Nursing Homes-are up 30 percent in the past 2 years.

The group says large lawsuit awards have caused liability Insurance to increase 680 percent since 1995, and that insurance costs are five times what they were three years ago.

A consultant for the organization says quality of care at nursing homes has increased during that period, "Now the nursing homes in AL on average rate 95% or you eat in restaurants every day with lower scores than that, and they’re not inspected nearly as stringently as our nursing homes are…see, that is the fact of the matter and nobody knows that fact," said Joe Perkins.

Attorney Jere Beasley disagrees, "In fact, if nursing homes were properly staffed and did their jobs, they wouldn’t have to worry about lawsuits. In fact, they have that responsibility to the people who are patients in their nursing homes."

Beasley says there has been no "flood of lawsuits" or large verdicts against Alabama nursing homes.

Beasley says the Nursing Home industry has given money to politicians, and says this is the first step in the industry’s effort toward tort reform.

Tort reform is term given to efforts to change the civil justice system- or lawsuits filed for money. Generally, tort reform would make proving liability more difficult and would limit certain types of large verdicts, especially in personal injury cases.

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