Friday, August 25, 2006

Long Term Care Lawsuits

This post is more of a rant than an informational post.

I just saw a commercial that discusses the horrors of some long term care facilities. It mentioned that in long term care facilities that patients are mistreated and even abused in some cases by the staff of the nursing homes.

Who made this commercial? Well a lawyer of course! They were nearly begging you to sue a long term care facility for the mistreating that your loved one has surely suffered.

To this I say.....Well, I won't use the word I want to use...But, bulls produce it and you try not to step in it.

Are there a handful of cases each year where patients are mistreated? Yes. Does this happen as often as lawyers and some media outlets would like you to believe? No.

In my years of working in health care I have met numerous health care providers, nurses, doctors, administrators, etc. I never met a person who was interested in harming a patient in any way shape or form. These people got into healthcare because they care about people, not for the money.

I say to the lawyers producing such commercials that they should be ashamed of playing on peoples fears and the few cases a year that get extraordinary media coverage.

I have heard that in Florida there are many nursing homes that do not carry certain liability insurance coverages because of the proliferation of nursing home lawsuits. Most people are aware that many retirees move to Florida in retirement for the climate and weather. Driving around Florida you will see multiple billboards advertising for lawyers that want to help you sue a nursing home.

As a result of the eagerness to sue, the costs of liability insurance are far too excessive for many long term care facilities to afford, therefore they do not carry it. This means that one substantiated expensive lawsuit will close down one of these facilities. On the other hand, if they did carry the insurance, they would have to close anyway because they could not maintain their budgets.

My point is that frivolous lawsuits are driving health care costs through the roof. Would I sue a long term care facility for malicious mistreatment of a a loved one? Yes.

Malicious mistreatment is unacceptable.

Medical mistakes made by human beings are unfortunately inevitable.

Long term care insurance can help you to try and avoid some of these issues by helping you to be able to afford the higher quality long term care. If you rely on Medicaid then you are limiting yourself to facilities that accept Medicaid payments. Medicaid payments are generally very low. These Medicaid facilities are often not able to afford the amount of staff and the quality of staff that you would like to see caring for you or your loved ones.

So what is my point? I don't know I am just rambling for the most part. But I do want to say that healthcare workers as a whole are not out to harm you or your family members that are in long term care facilities. Most of these healthcare workers are going to do everything in their power to provide quality care.

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