Nursing home neglect suits possibly affected by new bill

Our elders deserve care and attention, and families should not be saddled with fears about how their relatives are being treated. Patients depend on staff training and hospital oversight. Nursing home patients also depend on the ability to sue if they have been abused and neglected in a nursing home. A recent news story out of Pennsylvania tells about a threat to such safety -- in the form of a new bill that poses threats to patients' ability to receive damages from improper care, including nursing home neglect and abuse.

The bill is known as the Protecting Access to Care Act. Authors of the story say that the bill was rushed through committee with no opportunity for a public hearing. Opponents of the bill say that the bill helps doctors and hurts patients.

The bill, some say, makes it harder for patients to file a medical injury claim, and also makes it harder to get compensated if an injured patient wins in court. The bill is a general malpractice bill, but also applies to cases of nursing home neglect and abuse in nursing homes. Supporters of the bill says that it will reduce unnecessary barriers to health care, including unnecessary extra testing and so-called defensive medicine. The bill will also reduce what are characterized as excessive jury awards to patients.

Some feel that the bill is unconstitutional as it overrides existing state policies on patient protections. Nursing home patients do have a right to freedom from abuse and neglect. Families and individuals deserve to have proper medical care for ill or injured persons. If a person, or a family member of a victim, suspects nursing home neglect in Pennsylvania, they have the right to seek the aid of an attorney who is knowledgeable on current health care legislation and who can help file suit if needed.

Source: publicnewsservice.org, "Malpractice Bill Called "Unconstitutional"", Andrea Sears, June 12, 2017

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