PHCA Expresses Frustration, Disappointment Over Failed Vote on Lawsuit Abuse Reform
Long-term care facilities across Pennsylvania will remain vulnerable to predatory out-of-state law firms
HARRISBURG — W. Russell McDaid, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, issued the following statement in response to the House of Representatives’ failure to pass H.B. 1037, legislation that would have limited punitive damages awards up to 250 percent of the amount of compensatory damages for long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes.
“This lawsuit abuse reform measure was crucial for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens and those who provide their care.
“This legislation would have protected hundreds of providers and tens of thousands of seniors in long-term care facilities from frivolous lawsuits brought by out-of-state predatory law firms. The high legal costs paid by Pennsylvania long-term care providers as a result of these lawsuits inhibit job growth, increase health-care costs and limit access to medical care.
“Since 2002, physicians have had caps on punitive damages here in Pennsylvania. In other states, caps on punitive damages have helped save the long-term care sector. It is disappointing that providers here will remain susceptible to attorneys from out of state.
“There are long-term care providers in Pennsylvania currently paying more to defend these lawsuits than on food for their residents. There are have been more than 130 nursing facilities that have either declared bankruptcy, been forced into receivership, changed ownership or simply left the state altogether in the last five years. This legislation would have helped put an end to this crisis—instead, providers will be more vulnerable than ever.
“I would like to thank state Rep. Warren Kampf, the prime sponsor of H.B. 1037, as well as Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, House Majority Whip Bryan Cutler, House Policy Committee Chairman Kerry Benninghoff, House Judiciary Chairman Ron Marsico and the rest of the brave members of the House that voted for this legislation to protect Pennsylvania’s seniors and their providers of care.
“Without this important measure, Pennsylvania’s dedicated caregivers and the residents they care for will still struggle to make ends meet while predatory lawyers profit from Pennsylvania tax dollars intended to provide care. We plan to continue this fight when the House returns to session this fall and convince those who voted against caregivers and residents that this Bill needs to be voted into law.”