Attorney Discusses Law Granting Immunity to Some Nursing Homes

Ar Local

LITTLE ROCK, AR–An Arkansas family’s battle against a nursing home is drawing attention to a little known rule that grants immunity to charities.

Monday we introduced you to a family trying to hold a nursing home liable for man’s death. The court declared the center has charitable immunity because it is a nonprofit.

KARK found more than 20 other nursing homes are nonprofits and could claim the same protection if taken to court.

Trial attorney George Wise says that’s why some cases never make it to his desk.

“We turn down cases routinely where we run into nursing homes organized as non profit or charity acting bare,” he says.

That’s because a state supreme court ruling from the early 1900s allows nonprofits to claim charitable immunity saving them from lawsuits. And since there is no state statute requiring nursing homes or hospitals to carry liability insurance, there is no way to hold some facilities liable financially.

“People walk away not understanding and we have people walk away angry,” says Wise. “People don’t get justice.”

Charitable immunity stumped the Newborn family suing Davis Life Care Center in Pine for the death of their brother, Johnny C. Newborn.

“They don’t have to be held responsible so you just do what you want to with no recourse,” says Gracie Newborn Neal.

We obtained state documents detailing the status of all Arkansas Nursing homes. Of 238 active licensed facilities, we found roughly 10 percent are nonprofits.

“I don’t think most people know this,” says Wise
Wise says there is a need for true charity.

“There are people who need medical care and have no money,” Wise says.

But since many of these nonprofits are filled with government funded beds, he also argues there should be more transparency.

“What I think we need to ask ourselves as a state whether charitable immunity a concept that’s time has come and gone,” he adds.

Nursing homes and hospitals have to meet an eight point test to prove they are operating as a true charity before courts grant immunity. The State Supreme Court is leaving it to lawmakers to address or make any changes to charitable immunity protection in Arkansas.

To contact Brittney Johnson or follow her reports, click here.

Here is a list of entities labeled “Corporation-Non Profit” in the state nursing home directory:

Malvern Nursing and Rehabilitation, Malvern, AR
Lakewood Convalescent Home, Inc., Hot Springs, AR
HIllcrest Home, Harrison,AR
Highland Court, A Rehabilitation and Resident Care Facility, Marshall, AR
Good Samaritan Society, Mountain Home, AR
Good Samaritan Society, Hot Springs Village, AR
Wood-Lawn Heights, Batesville, AR
Davis East, Pine Bluff, AR
Trinity Village Medical Center, Pine Bluff, AR
Three Rivers Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Marked Tree, AR
The Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place, Magnolia, AR
Presbyterian Village, Inc., Little Rock, AR
Pleasant Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation, Little Rock, AR
Parkway Health Center, Little Rock, AR
Ozark Health Nursing and Rehab, Clinton, AR
Newton County Nursing Home, Jasper, AR
Methodist Health and Rehab, Fort Smith, AR
Meadowview Healthcare and Rehab, Huntsville,AR
Davis Life Care Center, Pine Bluff, AR
Heartland Rehabilitation, Benton, AR
Green Acres Nursing Home, Paragould, AR
DeWitt Nursing Home, DeWitt, AR
Cave City Nursing Home Inc, Cave City, AR
Butterfield Trail Village, Fayetteville, AR
Belle View Estates Rehabilitation and Care Center, Monticello, AR
Belle Meade, A Rehabilitation and Guest Care Facility, Paragould, AR

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