This morning I was reading a an article from the Lexington-Herald Leader, “Nursing home chain to pull out of Kentucky” which chronicles how the large nursing home operator Extendicare Health Services has elected to move out of the nursing home business in Kentucky— citing increased litigation costs. Per the article, all 21 nursing homes that Extendicare presently operates in the state will be leased to different large nursing home operation (the name of the new operator was not disclosed) for a ten year term.
While businesses are free to come an go as they wish in order to suit the best needs of their company, I was somewhat surprised to hear how the company’s CEO, Tim Lukenda, essentially blaming the legislature for the companies move. “However, the combination of a worsening litigation environment and the lack of tort reform in the state of Kentucky has made this the prudent decision for our company and unit-holders.”
Though I actually felt somewhat bad (for a short second) hearing about a business having a difficult time conducting operations in the midst of an unfavorable climate, my thoughts quickly changed when I considered how Mr. Lukenda was essentially complaining that the laws currently in place to protect nursing home residents in the state impose too many regulations for the company to operate. In light of Extendicare’s recent troubles in Kentucky related to allegations of patient abuse and neglect, perhaps the companies focus should be inward– in terms of taking steps to improve the care it provides to patients– and hence, avoiding the current tort system all together.
After the dust has settled in the aftermath of Extedicare’s absence, the citizens of Kentucky should actually thank their legislators for standing their ground when it comes to patient rights in lieu of caving in to pressures from a corporate giant.
For laws related to Kentucky nursing homes, look here.