Bowling Green Attorney Says Lawmakers Missed Opportunity To Protect State’s Nursing Home Residents From Abuse And Neglect

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Measures that would have required criminal background checks for all nursing home employees and created an adult abuse registry are among those that failed in the Kentucky legislature this session.

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Bowling Green lawyer Lee Coleman

When an elderly person has been abused, neglected or exploited by those they trusted to care for them, then we believe somebody needs to stand up for their rights and the rights of their family.

Kentucky lawmakers failed to take important steps this legislative session that would have provided better protection for the state’s nursing home residents, Bowling Green personal injury attorneys J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman said today.

“There seemed to be a lot of momentum going into this session to address serious problems within our state’s nursing home industry and to improve our treatment of the elderly,” Hughes said. “I’m disappointed, to say the least, that all of the momentum led to very little action.”

After a series of news stories came out last summer, exposing gaps in the state’s handling of elderly abuse and neglect cases, several bills were introduced during the legislative session that wrapped up earlier this month. Among the proposed measures:

  •     H.B. 101: The bill would have created an adult abuse, neglect and exploitation registry, and it had been strongly supported by Governor Steve Beshear.
  •     H.B. 69: The bill would have required hospices, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to report all deaths to the county coroner within 24 hours of the death, and it would have required coroners to involve police and prosecutors if they suspected mistreatment.
  •     S.B. 44: The bill would have required nursing homes to conduct criminal background checks of all employees, including custodians and kitchen workers, and it would have barred nursing homes from employing those with certain criminal convictions.

Both Hughes and Coleman said these measures would have helped to deter the abuse and neglect of nursing home residents and elderly citizens in general. They questioned why the bills failed to pass.

“The registry and criminal background check requirements, for instance, would have prevented people who have no business working with the elderly from getting jobs at nursing homes, and involving coroners would have helped to provide families with answers about their loved one’s death,” Coleman said. “This was simply a missed opportunity to ensure the safety and protection of our elderly residents.”

Both attorneys said they were glad to see at least one important bill signed into law: H.B. 52, which prohibits a person who has been convicted of felony abuse or exploitation from administering the victim’s estate as a guardian, executor or power of attorney.

“But there was so much more that could have been done this session,” Hughes said.

For several years, Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers has focused on representation of nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

The law firm, which has offices in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and Louisville, recently launched a website, Kentucky Nursing Home Neglect, that provides important information about the subject.

“When an elderly person has been abused, neglected or exploited by those they trusted to care for them, then we believe somebody needs to stand up for their rights and the rights of their family,” Coleman said. “We’ll continue to stand up for those rights.”

About Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers

Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, with Kentucky offices in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and Louisville, is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as the families who care deeply about their elderly loved ones.

Partners J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman are accomplished injury attorneys and advocates for people who have suffered from nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as auto accidents, brain injury, drug injury, defective products, environmental dangers, fire and burn injury, insurance disputes, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, Social Security disability, stock fraud, truck accident injury, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.

For more information contact Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers at (800) 489-6000 or use the firm's online contact form.


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