This is the fourth in a series of articles that highlight the ways in which Indiana laws protect negligent nursing homes and other wrongdoers, and in doing so, jeopardize the safety of Hoosiers.
Indiana Law Shields Negligent Nursing Homes From Being Publicly Named In State Court Lawsuits
Lawyers who represent victims of nursing home neglect and abuse cases in Indiana are forbidden by law in most cases from publicly stating the name of negligent nursing homes in any court pleading until long after the neglect or abuse took place. Why is that? Because claims against most nursing homes are subject to Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act which applies a different set of rules to claims against nursing homes and others in the healthcare industry.
Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act forbids the filing and prosecution of a neglectful nursing home in a state court lawsuit until after an administrative claim has been filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance and presented for review before a panel of three healthcare providers who are typically employed in the nursing home industry. Unfortunately, this administrative claim process whereby the panel’s “opinion” is rendered can take up to several years or longer while the nursing home gathers records and makes its argument to the panel. The nursing home has no incentive to speed up the process because they are protected from having to be accountable for harm while the claim is pending before the Department of Insurance. The law forbidding the identification of the nursing home in any state court under these circumstances applies regardless of how many instances of patient neglect occur, how egregious the neglect or abuse was, or how many current patients may be at risk of harm from the nursing home facility’s neglectful and abusive practices. These laws that allow bad nursing homes to hide the effects of their under-staffing and other reckless practices from the public protect an industry at the expense of elderly and vulnerable patients and their families.
Studies have shown that Indiana has had the highest number of poor performing nursing homes in the United States. Indiana nursing homes are protected by other laws as well. For example:
• Indiana’s wrongful death laws that forbid certain close family members from filing suit for wrongful death,
• Indiana’s laws have no requirement that nursing homes meet minimum staffing levels found to be necessary in order to provide adequate care to patients.
Indiana’s nursing home industry has ranked among the worst in the nation in quality of care. It’s time our laws help shine a light upon those nursing homes that are failing to meet the promises they made to their patients and families, rather than cloaking them with anonymity so that families making decisions about where to place their loved ones can make informed choices.
While Indiana’s laws clearly protect this powerful industry, there are steps that can be taken to hold bad nursing homes accountable. If you would like more information on prosecuting a claim against a nursing home for the neglect or abuse of a patient, call us toll-free at 877-769-5377 or click on the free consultation button below to submit your inquiry. There is never a fee for this consultation.
Please share this article with those who have loved ones in an Indiana nursing home.