LTC groups throw support behind medical liability reform bill

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Two long-term care advocacy groups said they are backing medical liability reform legislation introduced last week by U.S. Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and John Ensign (R-NV).

The American Health Care Association and its sister group, the National Center For Assisted Living, said such legislation is necessary because lawsuits are driving up high liability insurance premiums among nursing home and other providers. The Gregg-Ensign bill is similar to legislation introduced in the 108th Congress.

"Throughout America, nursing, assisted living and disability service providers are experiencing dramatic and unprecedented increases in liability insurance premiums due to a growing number of lawsuits that threaten seniors' access to quality care," said Hal Daub, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL.

General liability and professional liability claims absorbed 5% of the countrywide average Medicaid reimbursement rate to nursing homes from 1995 to 2004. That represents $4.8 billion in Medicaid funds, according to an actuarial study by AON Risk Consultants.