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Thursday, January 20, 2011

 5:16 PM 

GOP rejects amendment on nursing home records in liability bill

Republicans turned back an amendment to the liability package that Dems said would ensure incident reports at nursing homes would be available to the families of victims of neglect or to prosecutors filing criminal charges.

Dem members recounted a series of horror stories families told during a public hearing about the abuse and even death their loved ones had suffered at nursing homes, questioning why Republicans would want details of those incidents kept secret from families and prosecutors.

"Unfortunately in this bill we put many of our most vulnerable at risk and shield criminals and abusers from liability," said Peggy Krusick, D-Milwaukee.

To back up their contention, Dems pointed to a line from an analysis of the legislation that states, “The bill requires that any record or incident or occurrence report that is disclosed to another, properly or improperly, remains confidential and may not be used in a civil or criminal action against any health care provider.”

But Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, said there is a difference between reports on such incidents that he insisted would still be available to families and prosecutors and peer review reports that are shared among health care providers in an effort to improve practices. He said the peer review reports are the records that would be kept secret.

"This is not going to stop lawsuits when there is egregious action by nursing homes or anyone else," Ott said.

The amendment was tabled 55-38.


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