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04/09

Kentucky Legislature Jeopardizes Nursing Home Abuse Prevention Laws

Posted by: Jack Bernstein

elderly-abuse-lawyers-03Most people understand that assisted living facilities need to operate at a level that all but ensures that their residents will be treated well and that those residents will be kept safe. People who move into these facilities are already vulnerable to harm because of advanced age, serious illness or both. As such, Nevada is like most other jurisdictions across the United States in that there are several laws that are in place designed to prevent nursing home residents from being exposed to people who may harm them in one way or another.

If you’re like most people, you probably assume that every state has laws like these on the books. For instance, Nevada is a member of the vast majority of jurisdictions that requires all employees, contractors and others who work in assisted living facilities and who will be in contact with residents to pass a criminal background check before they can begin their jobs. Facilities that fail to take this step can face serious sanctions from the state that include fines and shut-downs if the violations are serious enough to warrant such steps.

However, not all jurisdictions are the same. Recent news has shed light on the stalled progress in the Kentucky legislature regarding certain bills and renewals of laws that would provide many of these same protections. For instance, one law that is up for renewal that would continue the criminal background check requirement for nursing home employees may not be passed. If it is not, then these checks would no longer take place after June 30, 2014.

In addition, a bill that was up for consideration for the fourth time failed to pass. This bill would have created a clearinghouse that would have consolidated all of the data regarding nursing home workers and facilities into one place so that these background checks could be done more efficiently and so that they could provide more reliable data to the facilities, people and entities that would make use of it. Funding was seen as the primary obstacle to this bill once again.

There is no telling as to whether any of these bills will ever become laws. If they do not, then it could lead to many more situations where people who should not be working with those of advanced age and/or illness are doing so. In addition, the government would not have much in the way of recourse or remedies if some facilities actually take the steps necessary to hire some of these people.

Fortunately, people who are harmed in this manner still have civil courts and nursing home abuse lawyers on their sides, but these reactions could only come after someone is mistreated. The laws discussed above would help to prevent neglect and/or abuse from ever occurring in the first place. If you suspect that a loved one is being mistreated by nursing home staff members, contact Bernstein & Poisson today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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