PNS Daily Newscast _ March 31, 2020 

Treasury and IRS say economic impact checks for COVID-19 to begin in next three weeks. And states deal with collision of coronavirus and homelessness.

2020Talks - March 31, 2020 

During the new coronavirus pandemic, many are advocating more mail-in ballots. Some say restricting voting by mail is one method of suppressing the vote.

TN Nursing Home Liability Limits Considered Today

April 21, 2009

Nashville, TN – Two high-profile cases of alleged abuse in Tennessee nursing homes have focused keen attention on pending state legislation to limit nursing home liability in lawsuits.

In Knox County, the dehydration death of a Hillcrest North patient is being reviewed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. In Bristol, a National Health Care home nursing staff member is accused of a pattern of patient molestation over a decade.

Today, a state legislative subcommittee considers a proposal to cap the amount plaintiffs could seek in such cases at $300,000, with a stipulation that half the money must be returned to the nursing home industry, into a fund that would be used to help improve nursing home conditions. It is not a new idea, says Knoxville attorney Wayne Ritchie, who opposes the bill.

"The reason this bill has failed every year is because it's horrible legislation. Limiting accountability would just make nursing homes go from very bad to worse."

Other states have wrangled with similar problems and, says Ritchie, managed to come up with workable alternatives.

"Florida passed legislation where nursing homes were required to have more staffing, and claims for abuse and poor care dropped over seventy percent."

Proponents argue that the bill would protect the industry from frivolous lawsuits, as well as creating a fund to help upgrade care. Ritchie believes increased staffing is the solution to improving the state's nursing home care rating - which, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is 47th in the nation.

Dan Gordon, Public News Service - TN