Thursday, April 18, 2013

Take Action: Help Pass Nursing Home Tort Reform

CS/SB 1384, the nursing home tort reform bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano (R-26), passed favorably out of the Senate Health Policy Committee this week. This bill clarifies guidance in due process in determining whether evidence exists that would warrant a claim for punitive damages. SB 1384 will not take away the ability for someone with a legitimate case to have their day in court or reasonable compensation if their case has merit.

Nursing home care is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in Florida, and this bill does not weaken those regulations or detract from ensuring facilities meet appropriate care standards. Facilities still undergo an intense survey process, still have to meet minimum staffing ratios along with increasing regulations at the state and federal levels. Facilities are committed to continued quality improvements and today, over 50 percent of Florida nursing homes showing a four or five star rating according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

An appropriate system of justice should be based on liability, not making it lucrative for attorneys to file lawsuits. Reckless accusations by trial lawyers divert valuable time, attention and resources away and tarnish the reputation of trusted, high-quality facilities, and they drive up the costs for residents, facilities and ultimately, taxpayers.

Please continue contacting your legislators to ask them to support this good bill which would help keep predatory trial attorneys from using punitive damages to inflate the cost of settlements in nursing home claims. Click here to enter your zip code and send an e-mail to your Senator today to ask them to support nursing home tort reform.

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