Nursing Home Liability Insurance
It’s virtually unthinkable that the state of Illinois would license any type of nursing home, long-term care or assisted living facility without requiring basic nursing home liability insurance. Yet, that’s exactly what occurs today.
Regardless the case of accidental injury, or injury by neglect and abuse – even death, patients and their families are left to bear the painful consequences with little or no compensation or recourse.
Despite an unprecedented increase of citations against nursing homes for violations that pose a risk of injury and death to patients, the requirement of liability insurance has been ignored; prevented through strong lobbying by corporations and the nursing home industry itself, and set aside by lawmakers who until now, were unwilling to enact legislation that protect our most frail and aging.
Unless Illinois senators water down the most aggressive piece of nursing home legislation in years, that may all change with HB 3455. Still, the public must insist that our disabled, frail and aging are no longer a bargaining tool for special favor.
HB 3445 is expected to have the votes to pass through the house, but reasonable concern persists that the senate will reduce the bill’s legal bite. If ever there was a time to turn the tide in the area of nursing home reform, it’s now.
Our firm has represented clients who have experienced the heartbreaking devastation caused by the lack of liability insurance when injury or death from neglect, abuse or a preventable accident has occurred within the nursing home environment. Recently we met a grieving husband and his adult children after his wife died prematurely as a result of repeated negligence at the hands of nursing home staff.
After witnessing the pain and suffering his wife endured before passing, you can imagine the disbelief and despair that followed when the cause of death was revealed.
Had he failed his wife in some way by trusting the care of the nursing home staff?
Second only to this family’s tragic and unnecessary loss of a loved one was the emotional pain in learning that they had no recourse. The corporately owned nursing home was not insured for liability. A meager and shameful life-value offering has been made as compensation to the family from the shell corporation of the licensed nursing home; barely enough to cover funeral costs.
Representative John Bradley (117th District) recently sponsored HB 3445, the Nursing Home Liability Insurance Bill, which would in part, require all new and existing nursing homes to show proof of liability insurance in the amount of $1 Million (minimum) as a condition of licensing.
Horwitz attorney, Jeff Schlapp is actively engaged with church and community partners, as well as union retiree organizations, educating the public to both the importance of HB 3445 and the need for overall nursing home reform; a crisis in the making as roughly 40% of those reaching age 70 will need some form of long-term care for the remainder of their lives.
Formerly the Vice President of a corporately-owned Illinois nursing home chain, Jeff became an attorney to accomplish what he could not from inside the corporate structure; improve the lives and care of nursing home residents by holding corporations accountable and forcing change through the court system.
“The Horwitz firm is committed to this effort” says Schlapp, adding “Our Legislators have already taken a positive step with their enactment of the Illinois Nursing Home Act, which provides nursing home residents with the right to be free of abuse and neglect. Now let them know that they must take the final step and ensure residents and their families have a right to recover damages from those who violate their rights and trust by passing House Bill 3445, which will enforce our loved ones rights to seek justice.”
Horwitz Communications and Outreach Director, Rosemary Roberts, has joined Jeff in the creation of a helpful information pamphlet regarding HB 3445, currently available upon request and free to the public.
Please join Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, Ltd in support of House Bill 3445 to ensure that all skilled nursing facilities are mandated to have nursing home liability insurance as a requirement of licensing.
Contact your senator and tell them to pass HB 3445 as it is written, without loopholes or watered-down language. Your state senators must hear the collective voice of individuals and our community partners. Individual and corporate owners of nursing home facilities must not be allowed to escape liability when the care of our most vulnerable – their very lives – is at stake.
These individuals are our loved ones, relatives and friends. It was easy to support legislation that protects those who cannot protect themselves; the elderly and infirm.
-Al Riley, State Representative, 38th District
Managing Partner, Cliff Horwitz welcomes your comments on this article and can be reached at (800)-985-1819.