Six months later, coronavirus litigation remains a concern
How to protect your facility from future lawsuits
After months of continuous decline, July brought an uptick in confirmed coronavirus cases throughout U.S. nursing homes. In response, long-term care advocates have encouraged operators to be on guard. In addition to meticulous documentation and appropriate training measures, facilities should pay attention to the latest COVID-related legal advice.
“The increase [in confirmed cases] could bring a jump in the number of tort litigation cases filed, particularly wrongful death and negligence claims from staff members, residents, and visitors,” writes Danielle Brown of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
For a full list of COVID-19 workplace litigation, visit Barnes & Thornburg LLP
The future of LTC—in court?
With many experts predicting an ‘inevitable’ second wave of coronavirus infections, providers must prepare for the worst. Beyond the front lines, administrators, owners, and stakeholders must ready themselves in the event of a COVID-related lawsuit.
Industry lawyers say that workers compensation and insurance coverage should take care of the majority of claims. But according to Mara Cohara, partner at Lathrop GPM law firm, plaintiffs “will try to find ways where providers were reckless or intentionally exposed their employees or folks in the facilities.”
At SpecialtyRx, we know many of our partners have already gone above and beyond in order to ensure the safety of staff, residents, and their visiting families. However, you can never be too careful. Stay out of court with these top tips for protecting your facility from legal action in the age of coronavirus.
3 Ways to Avoid COVID Litigation
Have a rock-solid compliance plan
If you haven’t already, hire someone or designate an employee to do careful, consistent compliance checks. The individual should be abreast of the latest state and federal guidelines, making sure that all care standards are strictly followed across all departments.
Experts say that plans should address your facility’s spread prevention and specific protocol upon the discovery of a positive case.
Create an anonymous reporting system
If a staff member witnesses or suspects abuse, neglect, fraud, or some other concern related to the pandemic, urge them to report it. By encouraging employees to speak up, facilities can get ahead of the legal process and potentially avoid a problem altogether.
In the event that a claim is proven true, operators can seek advice from lawyers and mitigate the issue.
Watch out for upcoming legislation
While there is much you can do to prevent a potential lawsuit, the government is also looking to provide the long-term care community with protection. If passed, the Safe to Work Act will deter false claims and other tort litigation stemming from COVID.
“Accusers would have to provide clear and convincing evidence that there was gross negligence or willful misconduct by a healthcare provider,” says Cohara.
Best wishes from your pharma family