Virginia nursing homes are finally required to have malpractice and general liability insurance
Many people are surprised to learn that until recently there was no requirement for Virginia nursing homes to carry insurance. It is shocking considering that child care facilities, trucking companies, adult day care facilities, and for all practical purposes anyone who drives a car in Virginia must have insurance. I saw this first hand when representing the parents of a 21 year old girl who died in a Virginia nursing home when the staff were sleeping instead of administering care to her. The nursing home only had $50,000 in insurance and the policy deducted for defense costs.
Over the last 4 years, I have gone to the Virginia General Assembly with other members of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association lobbying for a law to require Virginia nursing homes to either carry adequate insurance or at a minimum notify residents and their families that they are uninsured or have inadequate insurance. One day the parents of the 21 year old girl joined me at the General Assembly and we testified about this injustice. In front of my grieving clients, the nursing home industry largely denied there was any problem and nothing got done until last year.
In the 2013 General Assembly, a law was finally enacted requiring Virginia nursing homes to carry adequate insurance. The General Assembly left it to the Virginia Department of Health to enact regulations implementing the change. Those regulations went into effect last November. They require all Virginia nursing facility to have at least $1,000,000 in general liability insurance and at least $2,100,000 in malpractice insurance. Any facility that is out of compliance will lose its license. To the best of my knowledge no other state in the country has such protections for nursing home residents.
This is an important victory for the rights of nursing home residents and their families. We are still working on getting regulations in place requiring Virginia assisted living facilities to notify residents and their families if they lack adequate insurance.
If you have any questions about the new regulations or the rights of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, please do not hesitate to contact me. It is a never ending fight, but citizens working together truly can bring about change for the better through the legislative process and our justice system.