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Should Nursing Home Investors Be Immune From Lawsuits?

Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd.
Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd.

April 7, 2014

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The Florida legislature is debating legislation which would provide complete immunity for investors when a nursing home is sued. Per this legislation, only nursing home owners and staff could be named as defendants and held accountable in nursing home abuse lawsuits.

There is great divide over this bill. Florida resident advocates sharply oppose the bill believing investors who make budget decision which negatively affect care ought to be held accountable, while the nursing home industry is pushing for passage of the bill.

There is also strong criticism for the bill protecting wealthy investors. Even with a provision allowing plaintiff attorneys to pull investors into a nursing home abuse lawsuit upon judicial approval, investor immunity would place significant barriers for Florida plaintiffs seeking to collect punitive damages.

The American Journal of Public Health reported that investor-owned nursing homes have higher instances of nursing home abuse and neglect. These profit-producing care facilities are also more likely be inadequately staffed and have 46.5% more instances of deficiencies than not-for-profit facilities. The proposed Florida legislation would allow investors to profit from nursing homes, yet escape responsibility for nursing home abuse and negligent care.

In Illinois, where governor candidate Bruce Rauner was allegedly tied to nursing home abuse, no nursing home investor immunity laws yet exist. Bruce Rauner’s private equity firm had long-standing investments in nursing homes that were later charged with negligent care and abuse. Attorneys for the plaintiff alleged the investing firm was partly responsible for the nursing home patient deaths and injurious patient neglect.

It is critical Illinois advocates have the opportunity to hold profit-seeking investors accountable when nursing home facilities abuse and neglect elderly patients. Although investors are less involved in negligent care than nursing home staff, comprehensive accountability leads to greater protection and safer conditions for elderly loved ones.

At Walner & Associates we believe in protecting patient rights. We will provide relentless advocacy for you and your loved one and work hard to hold every player accountable for injuries caused by nursing home abuse, even the wealthy investors.

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