Frivolous Lawsuits Jeopardize Senior Care

sad senior
Skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes and assisted living facilities are under attack from predatory, out-of-state lawyers. Lawsuit abuse reform must be enacted in the 2017-18 legislative session to combat these attorneys and keep Medicaid dollars where they belong: at resident bedsides in Pennsylvania.

We need your help to ensure that House Bill 1037 passes the Pennsylvania House.

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The Issue:

Out-of-state law firms take tax dollars meant for frail Pennsylvania Seniors.

Just three years ago, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program spent more than $104 million on liability-related costs, including contingency fees to out-of-state, predatory lawyers. These lawyers come to Pennsylvania and set up shop in our communities to file hundreds of frivolous lawsuits against long-term care facilities, seeking jackpot verdicts and huge settlements-all because Pennsylvania provides absolutely no protection. In turn, long-term care providers and their insurers settle nearly all cases brought against them, rather than risk a verdict that could bankrupt their business and force the people they care for and their employees out on the street.

The Impact:

Frivolous lawsuits affect the quality of care, the cost of providing care and the morale of hardworking staff.

These high legal costs not only inhibit job growth, increase health-care costs and limit access to medical care, but they also affect the morale of residents, families and caregivers. The time, resources and money being spent on frivolous lawsuits could be used to raise wages and improve benefits for caregivers, pay for capital improvements at long-term care centers, and finance upgrades in equipment and technology that benefits residents.

The Fix:

House Bill 1037 address frivolous lawsuit abuses among PA nursing homes.

HB 1037, if enacted, would put a stop to frivolous lawsuit abuse for nursing homes and put Medicaid dollars back to work in Pennsylvania where they belong: at the bedside of residents of long-term care facilities. HB 1037 would cap punitive damages at 250% of compensatory damages for long-term care providers-without limiting a person’s right to sue or to be made whole. The bill simply extends the same protections that Pennsylvania physicians have had since 2002-nothing more.

Help us in the fight for frivolous lawsuit abuse reform. House Bill 1037 needs your support! Click here to contact your legislator today!

The Facts:

  • House Bill 1037 would limit punitive damages to 250% of the amount of compensatory damages for long-term care providers, including by facility, which is a (nursing facility, personal care home or assisted living residence).
  • Doctors have had caps on punitive damages at 200% of the amount of compensatory damages in Pennsylvania since 2002. H.B. 1037 simply creates similar protections for long-term care facilities.
  • Why are these protections needed? Skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes and assisted living facilities are under attack from predatory, out-of-state law firms who advertise in newspapers across the state, trolling for clients. These law firms advertise in newspapers, file frivolous lawsuits and, in every single case, ask for punitive damages. Defendants have no choice but to settle every case for fear of punitive damage awards.
  • Liability costs, which defend against these predatory firms, continue to rise. Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program spends more than $104 million on liability-related costs every year, and much of that goes to contingency fees to out-of-state, predatory lawyers. Those Medicaid dollars should be used to provide quality care to Pennsylvania residents. Instead, they go straight into the pockets of out-of-state lawyers.
  • Some long-term care providers in Pennsylvania now spend more on defending these lawsuits than on food for their residents.

By clicking here you will help in the fight against lawsuit abuse by asking your legislator to support House Bill 1037! Thank you for your support.

Click Here to Take Action!