This article has been corrected. It contained several errors in the “Caps on damages” section. It also incorrectly said Act 2 eliminated two-for-one fines; that passed as a separate bill in 2011.
Wisconsin Act 2 of 2011 changed state law regarding long-term health care providers in a number of ways. Here are some of them:
Certain records are inadmissible: State investigation records of nursing homes, and incident reports that facilities submit after a resident’s injury or death, are barred from being used in civil and criminal cases. These records are still available to the public. (See sidebar: How to find nursing home inspection reports.)
Caps on damages: In medical malpractice lawsuits against long-term care providers, plaintiffs seeking non-economic damages, for such causes as pain and suffering, are limited to $750,000, the same limit already in place for cases against other health care providers. And punitive damages may not exceed $200,000 or double any compensatory damages recovered by the plaintiff, whichever is greater.
Previously, there was no cap on punitive damages in medical malpractice cases against long-term care providers. There was also no limit for damages attributable for loss of society and companionship in a wrongful death case, but now such damages are limited to $500,000 per occurrence in the case of a deceased minor, or $350,000 per occurrence in the case of a deceased adult.
Two-for-one fines: If the state and federal government fine a nursing home for the same violation, the state fine is eliminated, according to a separate 2011 bill.