Disclosure and Liability Suits

The idea of disclosure of errors has been kicked around the medical malpractice community for at least a decade. Several studies, most notability from the University of Michigan, claim that disclosing mistakes and directly addressing bad outcomes at the time of the occurrence have dramatically reduced liability costs.

A recent Boston Globe Magazine article has discussed the issues with implementing a culture where errors are openly confronted and discussed with patients.

Support for these measures has begun to be embraced by hospital and physician malpractice insurers. ProtectNursingHomes.com expects senior care liability underwriters to slowly begin asking about facilities procedures in disclosing errors to families. Contact us today to discuss better positioning your organization for changes ahead.

Deadline for Compliance and Ethics Program Looming

The Accountable Care Act (ACA) has set March 23rd as the date for nursing facilities to have an “Effective Compliance And Ethics Program” up and running. Section 6102 of the ACA defines a “compliance and ethics program” as one “reasonably designed, implemented, and enforced so that it generally will be effective in preventing and detecting criminal, civil, and administrative violations” and also should be “promoting quality of care”.

Although the implementation of this rule is uncertain nursing home operators can expect to continue to be barraged with increasing regulation and oversight.

ProtectNursingHomes.com is working with their clients to help reduce the catastrophic effect of regulatory costs, contact them today to discuss better protecting your organization.

First Penalty for Data Breach of Under 500 Records

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights reached its first settlement for a breach involving data regarding less than 500 individuals. The Hospice of North Idaho will pay a $50,000 penalty to resolve allegations that it violated the HIPAA Security Rule when an unencrypted laptop was stolen with information on 441 patients. The settlement agreement is here. The penalty does not include the related investigation, PR, legal or notification costs.

As a reminder health care providers are required to report loss of identifiable patient information to HHS.

Elder Care providers are being pressed with increasing financial risk at a time when margins are being squeezed ever tighter. Contact us to discuss ways to broaden your current insurance coverage to address growing concerns like the costs of patient confidentially and employment related allegations. We have the expertise and market connections to drive cost savings over your current program while updating coverage ahead of changes in regulation and litigation.

Mandatory Arbitration Suit in California

The California Association of Health Facilities has sued the California Department of Public Health and its director over the ability to use mandatory arbitration with nursing home residents.

The state has begun to enforce a regulation requiring homes to advise residents that may not wave their right to sue for violations of the California Patient’s Bill of Rights, the suit states that this is in conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act.

Many nursing home operators have found mandatory arbitration lowers their defense costs and limits the potential for obscene verdicts in malpractice allegations.

Contact ProtectNursingHomes.com to discuss evolving tort reform and strategies to protect your organization.

Nursing Homes and ACOs

Duane Morris LLP has published a great article on the potential for nursing homes to join Accountable Care Organizations.

As health care reform continues to roll out it is very likely that elder care providers will be forced to join forces with health systems in reducing readmissions and improving outcomes. Those organizations who proactively prepare will end up on top.

ProtectNursingHomes.com is working with nursing homes to proactively reduce financial risk of ACO arrangements and position themselves as a strong potential partner for health systems.

Ohio Cap on Punitive Damages Upheld

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision upholding punitive damage caps for an Ohio assisted living facility.

The jury in Freudeman v Emeritus Senior Living awarded $400,000 in compensatory damages for a survivorship claim, $280,000 in wrongful death damages and $1,250,000 in punitive damages. On appeal the punitive damages were reduced to $800,000 upholding Ohio’s cap of two times compensatory damages.

Contact ProtectNursingHomes.com today to discuss better positing your organization for challenges ahead.

PA Supreme Court Rules on Nursing Home Corporate Liability

A year after the case was argued, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has sent the case of Scampone v. Highland Park Care Center, LLC, et al back to a lower court with clear guidance on the issue of corporate negligence vs vicarious liability.

The court affirmed that in the state of Pennsylvania nursing homes, like hospitals, control the care of the patients and can be sued for direct negligence.

The 40 page opinion can be viewed here.

This ruling chips away at the protection large nursing home operators have used to shield themselves from the liability of the subsidiary homes.

Contact ProtectNursingHomes.com today to discuss better protection your organization in a changing legal, regulatory and insurance environment.