The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 103 to 91 in late June against a proposal that would have limited punitive damages verdicts against Pennsylvania nursing homes to 250% of the compensatory damages awarded, by applying the cap contained in the Pennsylvania Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act (“MCARE”) to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The proposal had passed the House Judiciary Committee in September 2017 by a vote of 14 to 13.
The pro tort reform “alliance of organizations and individuals representing businesses, professional and trade associations, health care providers,” and others known as the PA Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR) argued for passage of the proposal:
“Today, the Commonwealth’s nursing homes are desperately in need of legal reform. Nursing homes currently settle virtually 100% of cases brought against them by predatory out-of-state lawyers for fear of out-of-control punitive damage awards. Punitive damage reform is crucial if Pennsylvania’s long-term care providers are to continue to provide quality care to our most vulnerable citizens.”
“Excessive punitive damage awards result in less money to spend on patient care, higher consumer costs, and decreased availability of services. Medicaid funding is depleted by punitive damages, which impacts Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.”
A Board member of the Pennsylvania Association of Justive, whose mission is “to promote a fair and effective justice system – and to support attorneys as they work to ensure that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in Pennsylvania’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests,” stated, “This bill demonstrates that the Pennsylvania legislature, which remains majority-controlled by Republicans, works very hard to balance the interests of its individual constituents and the business interests here in Pennsylvania. And I think that this outcome is a very good example of them striving to strike a balance. From our perspective, we think they have found an appropriate balance at this time.”
PCCJR’s push for nursing home tort reform was probably hurt by the May 10, 2018 announcement by the Pennsylvania Attorney General regarding the filing of “criminal charges against a nurse for failing to provide care to a patient of the senior living facility Cathedral Village in Upper Roxborough. The patient, Herbert R. McMaster, Sr., 84, was left in the lobby of the facility and died 8 hours after suffering a fall and serious head injury.” The deceased nursing home resident was the father of former U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home under-staffing, or the nursing home failing to properly care for a vulnerable adult, you should promptly find a nursing home claim lawyer in Pennsylvania or in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys (nursing home claim attorneys) in your U.S. state who may assist you with your nursing home claim, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
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