Posted September 11, 2017 | PA Nursing Home News
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) is responsible for nursing home oversight. When a nursing home violation occurs, such as an employee engaging in nursing home abuse, the DOH has authority to penalize the home with fines or other sanctions. A recent analysis of DOH sanctions revealed a spike from previous years, indicating that, in a victory for Pennsylvania’s elderly, the Department is getting tougher on noncompliant facilities. However, while this shift marks a step towards better protection of nursing home residents, it also reflects a troubling reality where nursing home violations are widespread. A Philadelphia nursing home lawyer examines the sanctions in closer detail.
During the first six months of 2017, the DOH imposed roughly $800,000 in fines on various nursing homes. Remarkably, that’s more than the amount imposed during 2014, 2015, and 2016 combined.
Figures within the nursing home industry have implied that the sanctions are excessive, such as W. Russ McDaid, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, who said that, instead of “work with facilities to ensure resident care is enhanced,” the DOH’s “unfortunate” approach “has been to sanction, sanction, sanction.”
For elderly Pennsylvanians, the spike in penalties reflects a statewide push toward a better, safer system where violations are less likely to be overlooked. The surge in enforcement represents a win not only for the victims of abuse and nursing home neglect, but for all seniors who will enter nursing homes in Pennsylvania this year.
In the interest of transparency, sanctions against nursing homes are part of the public record. Below, you’ll find a partial list of Pennsylvania nursing homes that have been fined in 2017, including the facility locations and the fine amounts imposed.
Depending on the nature and severity of each violation, some facilities were fined as little as $1,500, while others were fined more than $20,000. The list below includes only facilities that were fined $10,000 or more.
In cases where the same facility was repeatedly fined, fines have been combined into a final total. For example, Downingtown’s St. Martha Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare was fined $13,000 on January 17 and $19,500 on January 24, for a combined total of $32,500 in fines.
According to DOH records, no nursing home sanctions of $10,000 or higher were imposed in May, June, or July of 2017.
While some nursing homes do improve dramatically after being fined, sanctions don’t always succeed in improving the level of care provided at a facility. Indeed, careful inspection of DOH records shows that some facilities have been sanctioned more than once.
If you’re worried that a family member or loved one has been neglected and suffered serious injuries at a nursing home, you should speak with a personal injury attorney about your legal options. Call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (877) 654-3887 for a free legal consultation.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.*