Special interests continue their takeover of the Kentucky legislature; this time it's the nursing home industry who wants to interfere with state inspections and eliminate the accountability and responsibility of those that profit from poor and substandard care.
First, Kentucky House Majority Leader John “Bam” Carney has filed House Bill 210 which does two bad things: (1) it requires that management be present when state inspectors interview a nursing home employee; the purpose of this is to give management an opportunity to intimidate the employee into lying or failing to be fully truthful about conditions in the nursing home that pose danger to the residents' welfare and health. (2) it prohibits inspectors from disclosing to anyone but their bosses at the Cabinet what they encountered, saw or heard during a nursing home inspection. This gives politically-connected and influenced managers at CFHS opportunity to hide bad practices at nursing homes and to try and silence inspectors when they see violations being swept under the rug. Rep. Carney acknowledges that the bill was written for him by the Kentucky Association for Health Care Facilities, the state’s nursing home lobbying group and one of Frankfort’s larger campaign donors.
Second, Rep. Steve Riley has filed House Bill 289, which eliminates any accountability for those who profit from substandard care that injures or kills patients unless they were directly involved in patient care. In other words, make the money and avoid reponsibility. Betsy Johnson, a lobbyist for the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, brags that the group wrote this bill also.
John Cheves covers these developments in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Nursing home lobbyists write bills to restrict inspections, lawsuits against owners.