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After Tough Debate, Senate Passes Bill Allowing Panel Reviews in Nursing Home Abuses Cases

The state Senate on Wednesday approved that sets up a panel to review abuse cases from nursing homes.Three doctors would be put on the panel to review abuse cases; the bill would not prevent patients from filing lawsuits, but the findings from the panel could be admissible in court.The Senate approved Senate Bill 9 on a party-line vote—Republican for, Democrats against.The bill sponsor, Sen. Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, said the goal is to crack down on bad lawsuits, while still protecting nursing home patients."No one wants to see someone hurt, someone abused, someone neglected and I'm not here to say there aren't some horrible things that have happened to people and that they don't deserve justice, because they do and this in no way precludes that," Denton said.But many Democratic senators disagreed, saying the nursing homes are trying to protect their bad actions.Sen. Ray Jones, a Pikeville Democrat, was the most vocal opponent. Jones said he takes solace in the fact that the legislation has a tough road in the House."The only silver lining is that I'm convinced this bill will be dead as a hammer when it gets to the other end of this building," Jones said.