Although attorneys and other experts say they’re seeing an increase in the number of lawsuits brought against long term care organizations and in the severity of jury awards, a June study by Aon Global, Columbia, Md., found that the average loss per bed as evidenced by general and professional liability claims has remained relatively stable in recent years.

To keep from having skewed results, the study looked at only about 17,000 claims of $1 million or less involving primarily skilled nursing providers representing about 260,000 beds.

The average loss per bed per year varies dramatically between states, with Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia seeing the highest costs, according to the study.

For example, while Massachusetts’ average loss per bed per year is only $380, Arkansas’ average loss per bed is $3,990.

The report didn’t speculate as to why the losses varied so much among states. It wasn’t determined by whether a state had caps on damages, because Arkansas, which had the highest loss per bed, does have caps except for when intent to harm is proven.

But the study’s findings for Texas do show that tort reform can be successful. Tort reform enacted in Texas in 2003 instituted a $250,000 limit per claimant on noneconomic damages or from a single provider. “Loss costs in Texas plummeted after the tort reform was enacted and have remained level for a number of consecutive years,” the study’s authors write. While the loss was at $5,550 per bed in 2005, now that tort reform has been implemented it’s currently at $460 per bed.​