By: Keith Klein (Photo: WTHR.com)
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities account for more than 40% of COVID-19 deaths nationwide.
As deaths escalate, legislators wrestle with legal immunity for nursing homes. More than 20 states have passed laws to shield senior-care facilities from coronavirus-related litigation or protected them through executive orders.
In April, Indiana clarified, that facilities providing health-care services during a declared disaster emergencycan’t be held civilly liable for care provided “unless the care resulted from gross negligence or willful misconduct.”
The nursing home industry says that protection will allow caregivers to do their jobs without the looming threat of a lawsuit during the pandemic. Patient advocates warn that sweeping immunity may lower the standard of care in nursing homes.
Meanwhile, Republican governors, including Gov. Holcomb, have pressured Congress to provide nationwide liability immunity in the next coronavirus relief bill.
Complicating the issue is what nursing home operators, most of which are for-profit businesses, will do if they aren’t shielded from lawsuits.
“In 2000, the U-S had 17-thousand nursing homes, today we only have (about) 15-thousand nursing homes. A lot of nursing homes went bankrupt or exited the market ….”Susan Lu, a management professor at Purdue University said.
Americans stepped up home purchases in June by 21% after the pandemic caused sales to dip in the prior three months. However, the housing market could struggle to rebound further in the face of the coronavirus and a shrinking supply of homes for sale.
Sales of existing homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million, the National Association of Realtors said.
Despite the sharp gain, purchases are still down 11% from a year ago.
Demand has remained strong among buyers who have managed to weather the downturn, while record-low mortgage rates have helped sustain affordability.