Nursing Homes Seeking Protection from Coronavirus Lawsuits
As the COVID-19 death toll at nursing homes climbs to nearly 12,000, the nursing home industry is pushing states to provide immunity from lawsuits to the owners and employees of the nation's 15,600 nursing homes.
So far at least six states have provided explicit immunity from coronavirus lawsuits for nursing homes, and six more have granted some form of immunity to health care providers, which legal experts say could likely be interpreted to include nursing homes.
Almost 70 percent of the nation's more than 15,000 nursing homes are run by for-profit companies, and 57 percent are operated by chain companies, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as organizations that own two or more long-term care facilities. The rest are owned by nonprofit organizations. The federal government has eased some nursing home regulations during the Trump administration, but most oversight of the industry is conducted by the states.
Industry leaders say they have been pleading with state governments for increased testing and personal protective equipment so they can protect their workers, care for residents, and reduce the spread of the disease. Both for-profit and nonprofit nursing home industry associations have been pushing for immunity on the state and federal levels, according to statements from the organizations.