Over the last several months, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has
been ramping up enforcement actions for nursing homes.
Records show a jump from 18 penalties in 2014 to 108 penalties so far in
2017. Among the facilities issued penalties over the years are six Lancaster
County nursing homes, which had fines totaling $63,650. The total fines
issued statewide so far in 2017 are $774,750.
The department says the goal of increased enforcement and stronger use
of penalties is to ensure that nursing homes are safe and to correct problems.
However, nursing home industry leaders say that the approach can be counterproductive
and argue that fines make things worse, not better, for residents.
Most of the Lancaster nursing home penalties were issued for incidents
involving inadequate supervision resulting in harm to residents, including
at least 2 deaths. “Sometimes sanctions are necessary to make sure
that changes are being enacted,” said April Hutcheson, spokeswoman
for the PA Department of Health.
The increased penalties are largely due to more frequent nursing home inspections.
In 2015, the state filed a lawsuit accusing a nursing home chain of inadequate
staffing and substandard care, which sparked the creation of a Nursing
Home Quality Improvement Task Force. Inspectors are now visiting nursing
homes more often, resulting in discovery of violations.
In addition to the fines imposed by state regulators, nursing homes can
be subject to federal fines, which have also been increasing.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of negligent nursing
home care, it's important to seek out the help of a skilled attorney
in Pennsylvania. The lawyers at
Metzger Wickersham are familiar with cases involving
nursing home neglect and abuse. Our team is backed by extensive resources and decades of collective
Call us at (888) 286-2850 or
fill out our online form to schedule your free case evaluation today.