• Arizona Governor Signs Bill Limiting Use of Nursing Home Surveys in Lawyer Ads
  • May 2, 2017 | Author: James W. Kaucher
  • Law Firm: Gust Rosenfeld P.L.C. - Tucson Office
  • On March 24, 2017, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1325, a bill intended to promote balance and increased accuracy in ads by law firms that include the results of periodic quality, compliance, and certification surveys of health care providers.

    All nursing care institutions, hospitals, and other similar facilities must undergo periodic quality, compliance, and certification surveys by the state and federal government. It is not unusual for these surveys to result in citations for various infractions of the plethora of regulations that apply to these facilities. These surveys are public record.

    A favorite tactic of some law firms is to run newspaper ads with headings such as "Official Notice" and a discussion of a nursing home's past citations. The ads urge patients to call the lawyer and to see if they might have a claim against the facility. Unfortunately, these ads are sometimes misleading. In some states, they have been so egregious that courts have issued injunctions. Unfortunately, by the time court intervention can occur, the facility has suffered significant and unwarranted damage to its reputation.

    The bill signed by Governor Ducey provides that, if a state or federal survey is used in an ad, it must contain certain information. This includes:

    a) The date of the survey.
    b) A statement that Arizona DHS surveys are done at least every fifteen months.
    c) If the deficiency has been corrected, a statement that the deficiency has been corrected and the date on which the correction occurred.
    d) The number of deficiencies for this facility and the average number deficiencies for nursing homes generally for that year.
    e) A disclaimer that the ad is not authorized by a governmental agency.

    This law will take effect ninety (90) days after the Arizona Legislature adjourns on April 22.