Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Proposals to curb nursing home abuse faltering in Ky

Two proposals aimed at preventing and investigating abuse of nursing home patients appear to be dead or stalled in the ongoing state legislative session, according to their sponsors.

In Kentucky, nursing home deaths from neglect and abuse often aren't criminally prosecuted because the coroner isn't called to investigate. But a bill that would require Kentucky nursing homes to report all deaths to the local coroner will not go forward this session because of opposition, its sponsor said.

Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, said he won't call House Bill 69 for a vote in his House Health and Welfare Committee, citing opposition from the nursing home industry and budget concerns from the state's chief medical examiner, Tracey Corey.

Corey has said she would need to hire three medical examiners and support staff to handle the additional death investigations that could result from calling coroners after each nursing home death.

Burch said he tried to compromise with nursing home industry leaders with no success.

"All that I had when they got through compromising was the title (of the bill) and my name on it," Burch said. "I think right now as far as that bill is concerned, it's dead. As much as I want it, I can't move it that fast. I wasn't getting that much support on my committee."

Meanwhile, a bill requiring nursing homes to conduct criminal background checks on all employees appears to be blocked in the Senate. Under current law, employees who provide direct care to residents must have criminal background checks, but custodians, food service workers and others do not.

In 2008, a Lexington nursing home hired a maintenance worker after he had been arrested for sexual solicitation of a minor and kept him on after he was placed on Kentucky's sex offender registry, according to a lawsuit filed against the home.

Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/02/19/1641282/proposals-to-curb-nursing-home.html#ixzz1FOIF1TzfProposals to curb nursing home abuse faltering in Frankfort | Voiceless & Vulnerable: Nursing Home Abuse | Kentucky.com