Health care employers: Negligent hiring harder to prove

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in Employment Background Check,Hiring,Human Resources

A recent Texas Court of Appeals case is good news for employers who run health care facilities, such as mental health centers.

Reason: Patients who claim that the facility negligently hired employees who subsequently assaulted the patient will have to meet the very stringent rules on the Texas Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act.

Those rules include obtaining an expert to prepare a liability report early on. And that may discourage quite a few negligent hiring and supervision cases, since getting an expert report is an expensive proposition.

Case in point: Sandra Kidd voluntarily admitted herself to a mental health center and received treatment for 21 days. During that time, she later alleged, a mental health technician sexually assaulted her.

She sued, alleging negligent hiring because the facility didn't run a background check. But she never got an expert report.

The Texas Court of Appeals dismissed the case, reasoning that what she really had was a medical malpractice case dressed up as a negligent hiring case, and that she should have filed an expert report. (NCED Mental Health Center v. Sandra Kidd, No. 08-05-00270, Texas Court of Appeals, 2006)  

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