This is just another suggestion from the cheap seats, but if the nursing home industry wants tort reform to shield it from big payouts, I might recommend they get their house in order first.
Three Johnson City area nursing home nurses have been disciplined by the Tennessee Department of Health for stealing pain meds from patients and/or basically being high on the job.
One is nurse Ginger Sutherland, a former National HealthCare Corp nursing home employee in Jacksonville. According to the Kingsport Times-News, in July a patient complained that he did not receive his pain pills. Documentation by Sutherland indicated otherwise. She tested positive for Oxycodone and was fired.
Sutherland may have been down, but she wasn't out. She scored employment at Four Oaks Health Care in Jonesborough just a couple of months later. And the hijinks didn't end at NHC. In October she documented administering hydrocodone to a patient throughout the day, flouting a doctor's order to lay off the drug and administer Demerol instead. Her license has been placed on probation by TDH.
My question is: Who's doing background checks and making recommendations?
Nurse Rhonda Simms was also placed on probation for two years by the board for removing drugs from Wexford House nursing home in Kingsport in 2007. Nurse Rebecca Garland's license was revoked by the board for stealing drugs from a patient in November while working at the Hermitage Health Care Center nursing home in Elizabethton.
So, dear Pith reader, if you aren't disturbed enough at this point, click on this link from the Department of Health and check out the long list of names of doctors and nurses who've committed physical or sexual abuse, been busted for negligence and many other misdeeds. What's worse, that long list is just March 2009.