Beware predatory lawyers
The Trib recently published a full-page ad from a Florida-based law firm targeting a local nursing home. Virtually identical ads, purchased by the same attorneys, are popping up in newspapers across the state.
It is important that readers understand that these ads have nothing to do with the quality of care in their communities' skilled-nursing facilities. The men and women who work in these centers strive every day to provide the best possible care to residents who are frail, elderly or recuperating from a recent hospitalization, and they deserve praise — not condemnation.
These ads are only about making money. Pennsylvania's lax tort laws make it easy for predatory lawyers to move here and file volumes of lawsuits against Pennsylvania health-care providers, hoping for quick cash settlements — and that's exactly what they are doing.
Although sixth in population, Pennsylvania ranked second nationally both in total medical malpractice payments and payouts per capita in 2011, with 95 percent of $320 million in payments made because of settlements, not judgments, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Practitioners Data Bank.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association is advocating with state legislators for commonsense legal reforms that would end predatory legal tactics and lower health-care costs for all Pennsylvanians. But until these measures become law, the best way to determine whether a skilled-nursing center is the right place for a loved one is to visit it, observe the care and talk to patients, families and staff. The doors at your community's skilled-nursing centers are always open, and seeing really is believing.
Stuart H. Shapiro
The writer, a physician, is president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (phca.org).
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.