The Kentucky long-term care industry is lobbying hard to make it more difficult for nursing home residents to file lawsuits against the homes. Nursing home providers want a law passed that would require lawsuits be reviewed for merit by a medical review panel of health care providers.
One of the primary people funding this push is wealthy political donor, Terry Forcht. Forcht runs nine nursing homes, along with ventures in several other industries, including Forcht Bank, which has $1 billion in assets.
Some legislators, who have received hefty campaign contributions from Forcht, argue the review panels are necessary to protect the nursing homes from “predatory law firms”.
But consider the homes that Forcht himself operates. His home, the Hazard Health & Rehabilitation Center, has been the subject of numerous lawsuits and fines that just keep on coming – see for yourself below whether you think the suits have any merit. The details have been gathered by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
Three prominent lawsuits brought against Forcht’s at Hazard Health & Rehab:
- In 2011, a dementia resident broke her hip, after which the family moved her somewhere else. Prior to that serious injury, the resident had fallen 11 times and was often found wandering. The family has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence and it’s going to trial in May.
- In 2009, two male residents sexually abused an elderly Alzheimer’s patient. One of those incidents occurred within view of a supervisor. The state found the home “failed to protect” its residents and that it knew of two male residents that had displayed disturbing sexual behaviors. The state dropped criminal charges when the home agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and improve employee training. The family brought a lawsuit, alleging the nursing home put profits before safety. That case was settled out of court.
- In 2006 a resident died at Hazard Health & Rehab, while suffering from a pressure ulcer and bedsores. Her family brought suit against the home’s reckless disregard of the patient. A jury in Perry County awarded the plaintiffs $300,000, including $225,000 in punitive damages.
The U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare give the Hazard Health & Rehab a rating of one out of five stars. The staffing rate at the home was 23 minutes spent per day with residents by registered nurses. That rate is less than half of state and national nursing home averages.