A panel of doctors would have to review and approve malpractice lawsuits against nursing homes before they could proceed to court under a bill that has passed the Senate.
The vote late Wednesday afternoon was 23-12, mainly along party lines, in the Republican-controlled chamber.
Republican Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville, the bill's sponsor, said the panel would weed out frivolous lawsuits filed by large, out-of-state law firms. She said the money currently spent on litigation would be better spent on care.
Democratic Sen. Ray Jones of Pikeville, who voted against the bill, held up poster-sized photos of bed sores and other signs of abuse and neglect of some nursing home residents. He said such victims should have direct access to the courts.
The bill will proceed to the House for consideration. The legislation is Senate Bill 9.
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