Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tort Reform Bill Would Let Nursing Homes/Hospitals Hide Info on Patient Deaths and Injuries
A section of proposed law buried inside a tort reform bill could allow nursing homes and hospitals to hide information about what injured or killed a patient. Sen. Debbe Leftwich said most Oklahomans would be outraged if that were allowed to happen. She said the language, contained in sections 24 through 28 of the 119 page bill, should be removed.
“Under this language, if it is revealed in a ‘quality assurance’ meeting, or if a bad doctor was hired in a ‘credentialing process,’ the health care provider doesn’t have to tell the truth about how the patient was injured or killed,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “If this bill and this language becomes law, the truth cannot be told in court even if a nurse or other employees want to testify about what happened.”
Leftwich said she was appalled that the language could have even made it into the bill. She said the sections need to be removed before a vote on the bill.
“It is one thing to address frivolous lawsuits. But it is a terrible injustice when legislation goes so far as to allow nursing homes and hospitals to hide details about the injury or death of a patient that their employees caused,” Leftwich said. “I’m fearful this could take us back to conditions even worse than those that existed prior to the 2002 nursing home scandal.”