Increasing Regulation and a Lack of Tort Reform Costing Kentucky
Not only does Kentucky have a worsening regulatory environment, increasing regulations increase the incidence of litigiousness, which conspire together to make the state unfriendly to business and jobs.
Doug Alexander examined Kentucky's breaking systems in a recent article for kyforward.com.
The more abundant and specific are regulations governing any industry, the more opportunities there are to sue. That's why the American Association for Justice, which represents the interests of trial lawyers, constantly lobbies for more and more rules and regulations governing everything.
The long-term health care industry's reward for encouraging oversight and transparency is to invite lawsuits that drive up the cost of doing business and ultimately the cost of care to the very people the regulations are intended to benefit.
Many of these lawsuits have nothing to do seeking redress for real negligence or wrongdoing or even with improving conditions for residents. If they exist at all, the alleged abuses often cited in advertisements seeking clients are often based on nothing more than citations for minor or correctable deficiencies. Some may have occurred and been corrected years in the past. Some may never have occurred at all. But because all citations must be reported, even those that are later proved to be unfounded, the data is easily exploited to prey on the emotions of seniors and their families in order to seek clients for litigation.
It is one thing to seek redress when a facility has been negligent. Every industry can and should be held accountable for its shortcomings. However, it is another thing altogether to take information intended to benefit consumers, and exploit it simply as a means of trolling for clients.
One of Kentucky's largest providers of long-term care, Extendicare Health Services, has had enough. The company recently announced that it is leasing all of its nursing centers in Kentucky and leaving the state. In a May 14 news release, Tim Lukenda, president and CEO of Extendicare's parent company, said that "the combination of a worsening litigation environment and the lack of any likelihood of tort reform in the State of Kentucky has made this the prudent decision for our company and unit holders."