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Ohio Amends the Definition of “Medical Claim” to Include Language Favorable to Long-Term Care Facilities

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By Taylor Knight

February 11, 2015

Under Ohio law, a personal injury action involving a “medical claim” must be filed within one year of the accrual date of the cause of action. See R.C. 2305.113. However, personal injury actions that do not fall within the definition of a “medical claim” are given an additional year, two years total, within which to file a claim.   Thus, whether a civil action is deemed to be a “medical claim” has a significant impact on the amount of time a potential claimant has to file a claim.

Because of the extended timeframe to file non-medical claims, plaintiffs often attempt to characterize personal injury claims that arise from incidents in the long-term care setting as non-medical claims. Unfortunately, under the current definition of a “medical claim,” several Ohio courts have agreed with this position and have refused to dismiss claims that have been filed more than one year after the accrual of the cause of action.

Recently, via Sub. House Bill 290, the Generally Assembly amended the definition of the term medical claim include language specific to the long-term care setting. In that regard, with respect to long-term care facilities, the phrase “medical claim” is defined as: “any claim that is asserted in any civil action against a *** home, or residential facility, against any employee or agent of a *** home, or residential facility, *** and that arises out of the medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of any person.” R.C. 2305.113(E)(3). The current version of R.C. 2305.113(E)(3) goes on to state the term “medical claim” specifically includes:

(a) Derivative claims for relief that arise from medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a person;

(b) Claims that arise out of medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of any person and to which either of the following applies:

(i) The claim results from acts or omissions in providing medical care.

(ii) The claim results from the hiring, training, supervision, retention, or termination of caregivers providing medical diagnosis, care, or treatment.

(c) Claims that arise out of medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of any person and that are brought under section 3721.17 of the Revised Code.

The recent amendments to R.C. 2305.113, which becomes effective March 23, 2015, add the phrase “plan of care” to the abovementioned sections, thereby amending these sections to state, in pertinent part: “claims for relief that arise from the plan of care, medical diagnosis, or treatment of a person” and “claims that arise out of the plan of care, medical diagnosis, or treatment of any person***.”  Additionally, S.H.B 290 adds a fourth section to R.C. 2305.113(E)(3), which specifically states a “medical claim” includes:

(d) Claims that arise out of skilled nursing care or personal care services provided in a home pursuant to the plan of care, medical diagnosis, or treatment.

The addition of terms of art related to the long-term care industry to the definition of a medical claim is significant as it will make it much more difficult for a plaintiff to argue claims arising in the long-term care setting are excluded from the definition of a medical claim.

If you have any questions regarding R.C. 2305.113 and its potential impact on long-term care facilities, or matters affecting long-term care liability in Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky generally, please contact one of our Long Term Care Practice Group Members.

This has been prepared for informational purposes only. It does not contain legal advice or legal opinion and should not be relied upon for individual situations. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between the Reader and Reminger. The information in this document is subject to change and the Reader should not rely on the statements in this document without first consulting legal counsel.

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