On the heels of long term care operator Extendicare announcing its departure from Kentucky because of the state’s worsening legal climate, trial lawyers are gathering in Covington in early June to discuss strategies on how to effectively sue long term care providers. Among the topics of discussion at the Kentucky Justice Association’s “Litigating Nursing Home Cases” seminar: challenging arbitration clauses, how to beat common medical defenses and how to “reach” a conservative jury.
In just the past few years, Kentucky’s long term care facilities have seen a drastic increase in lawsuits despite ranking above the national average for quality of care standards, compliance and staffing. Many of these suits originate from out-of-state law firms looking to take advantage of elderly Kentuckians and the state’s plaintiff-friendly legal system. Even if a claim is frivolous, providers are often forced to settle rather than challenge the claim in court, costing precious resources (including Medicaid dollars) that could be used for patient care. That’s why the Chamber fought for a measure this past legislative session to create medical review panels in long term care lawsuits as a way to validate legitimate claims and expose frivolous ones. If Kentucky wants to maintain its presence as a leader in the aging care industry, state lawmakers must act quickly to protect providers from increasing threats of liability.