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For years, healthcare and nursing home corporations have been allowed to lie, cheat, and steal from healthcare patients, evading crucial consumer protections laws, without ever being held accountable.  By hiding arbitration provisions in applications and admission documents, businesses are allowed to bypass the court system, denying people their constitutional right to go to trial, and frequently prevent consumers from having a grievance or claim adequately addressed.   Forced...

March 25, 2015

Arizona legislative efforts to reduce construction worker safety have been rejected by OSHA, and residential contractors must now utilize federal OSHA standards, which require, among other things, fall protection above six feet. The Home Builders  Association of Central Arizona had argued that requiring such fall protection was itself unsafe because residential construction uses wood, which might not provide a secure tie off point for harnesses. The industry group doesn’t, however,...

March 03, 2015

No one, whether they are the plaintiff or the defendant, wants to be involved in a lawsuit if they can avoid it. But sometimes there is no other way to resolve a dispute. And, if you must go to court, every litigant wants resolution to come sooner rather than later. Centuries after they were first penned, the words “justice delayed is justice denied” are as true as ever. That is why we at MWK are so appreciative of the way our local superior court serves the citizens so well.The Maricopa...

February 26, 2015

Shouldn’t surfing Facebook while you drive be against the law? “Heck no!” says the leadership in our state legislature. As we have detailed in earlier blogs (Driving and Cell Phone Use and Don't Text This), there are exactly two states with no legislation regulating cell phone use while driving: Arizona and Montana. And this political resistance is apparently so entrenched that legislative leaders will not put forward any bill that bans all forms of texting while driving. Every year...

February 17, 2015

Recent actions by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have left a few folks scratching their heads.  Two initiatives, launched in the past three months, seem to be designed to achieve somewhat contradictory ends.  First, an appropriations bill enacted in December contained changes to the federal Hours of Service regulations that control how long a trucker is allowed to drive before stopping for rest. These changes, approved by the FMCSA, were widely viewed as increasing...

February 09, 2015

Medical care in this country is too costly. Sometimes, though, that high cost isn’t due to unnecessary tests, negligent doctors, high-priced drugs, or anything else the media finds sexy. Sometimes the culprit is just plain old waste. Researchers at the University of Chicago estimate that America’s 16,000+ nursing homes discard (throw away!) more than $2 billion in useable prescription drugs every year.  Yes, you read that right. Nursing homes are frequently left with unused...

January 15, 2015

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any period of time, you know that we can be very critical of the quality of medical care that patients receive in many hospitals and nursing facilities across the country.  With good reason. Too many patients suffer needless injury or death due to caregiver negligence and preventable mistakes. But, we are more than willing to acknowledge when progress is made on this problem.  And now, finally, it appears that maybe the data on this issue is...

December 22, 2014

This Thursday, November 20th, is World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) has designated this day to focus attention on what is the most common injury suffered by vulnerable adult patients in our nation’s nursing facilities.Pressure ulcers form when a patient is left in one position, with unrelenting pressure on one area of skin, while in a bed, wheelchair, or other setting. Skin integrity can also be degraded by poor nutrition,...

November 17, 2014

Recently, an encouraging trend has emerged regarding federal oversight of nursing homes. Federal prosecutors are beginning to demonstrate a willingness to go after substandard nursing homes for violation of something called the False Claims Act. In the latest example, the government announced last week that it had reached an agreement with Extendicare, the seventh-largest nursing home operator in the country, which requires Extendicare to  pay a $38 million fine and be subject to...

October 15, 2014

The idea of "tort reform" comes up every few years as insurance companies attempt to shift the cost of negligence to the injured parties and away from the insured person who caused the harm. With promises of lower health care costs, fear mongering of doctor flight, lower insurance costs, and tales of runaway juries and frivolous claims, insurance companies have pushed through caps on recovery in multiple states. So far, Arizona has not joined them, but it's just a matter of time before the...

October 03, 2014

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