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Bill addresses nursing home deaths



FRANKFORT

Amid questions about nursing home deaths in Kentucky, a state lawmaker is proposing legislation that would require all deaths at long-term care facilities to be reported to county coroners.

Democratic Rep. Tom Burch of Louisville has prefiled a bill that would require the additional reporting. Current law doesn’t require reporting most of the deaths.

The proposal would require coroners to tell police or prosecutors if maltreatment is suspected. The measure also would strengthen the criminal penalty for failing to report abuse and neglect of an adult and calls for specific training on abuse and neglect for nursing home staff and inspectors.

Burch told the Lexington
Herald-Leader
on Monday that the proposal is intended to give coroners discretion in choosing which deaths need further review.

The proposal comes after a series of articles published by the Herald-Leader
over the summer about gaps in the system used to investigate nursing home abuse.

The newspaper found that 18 nursing home deaths from 2007 to 2009 resulted in the type of citations issued by the state when a resident’s life or safety has been endangered. Fifteen deaths hadn’t been prosecuted as of early July and three were considered open investigations.


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