On October 1, 2011, Tennessee's nursing homes get their first Christmas present of the year from the Republican-controlled Legislature and Governor Haslam. That's when the state's much-less-than-stellar nursing home industry will become protected by new limits on lawsuits by those injured or killed as result of nursing home neglect.
The Tennessean accurately reports that Tennessee nursing homes rank near the bottom nationally in many key areas ranked by both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the GAO. Despite these rankings, and despite recent suits highlighting substandard care for nursing home patients, Republicans pushed through limits on the amount of damages patients can recover in cases of nuring home neglect. The limits were part of Governor Haslam's "jobs-based" tort reform agenda. It remains unclear - in fact unimagineable - how making nursing homes less accountable for patient neglect will create jobs or improve care. But then jobs and better care for nursing home patients were not what the industry had in mind when it lobbied for the limits.
For more information on Tennessee's nursing homes and the new reforms see The Tennessean and GAO studies.