The AARP launched its offensive against the nursing home industry's Kill Old People Cheap Act today with a damning report finding no evidence that lawsuit damage caps lead to better patient care. That report by a Virginia-based health care policy and consulting firm concluded "tort restrictions do not appear to be effective at reducing litigation costs."
"Although providers claimed that litigation costs diverted resources from resident care, research suggests that nursing home reimbursements and expenditures have little relationship to staffing levels and quality," the report said. "Moreover, evidence is lacking that tort restrictions would be effective in lowering litigation costs, or that any savings would be used to improve quality."
The report recommended three ways to improve nursing homes: Add staff, strengthen oversight and operate smaller homes.
AARP officials say they're working on legislation to address these issues, talking with some of the state's highest-rated nursing homes on how they do it. AARP Tennessee President Margot Seay:
"This report reiterates and clarifies what we've been saying for so long in Tennessee, that before we even consider limiting the legal rights of abused or neglected nursing home residents, we must improve quality first."