Nursing Home Sanctions – Pennsylvania

From Al’s Morning Meeting, 4/25/07….

This is a General Account Office audit in pdf format that covers 4 states, and Pennsylvania is one of them.  Please note that abuse details are on page 44 of the report.  No specific homes are named, so you will have to contact the state for help there.

Nursing Home Sanctions Down — But Safer?

The General Accounting Office found [PDF] that government financial sanctions against the worst nursing homes are down, but it may not be because the homes are doing a better job.

A few years ago, the feds jacked up the fines for the worst offenders. But look what the audit found:

Despite changes in federal enforcement policy, almost half of the homes we reviewed — homes with prior serious quality problems — continued to cycle in and out of compliance, continuing to harm residents. These homes corrected deficiencies only temporarily and, despite having sanctions implemented, were again found to be out of compliance during subsequent surveys.

The just-released audit says the serious deficiencies in care may be underreported, and between 8 and 23 percent (yes, a full one-fourth of the homes checked in Michigan) of nursing homes have serious deficiencies in care. (See page 25 of the audit.) The audit also found that when investigators did fine the worst homes, they usually only fined them at a low level and almost never used maximum fines. (See page 29.) And states almost never revoke Medicare participation — the mother’s milk for nursing homes. The reason, auditors say, is because it might be difficult to find somewhere to place the patients. Also, moving would be hard on patients, even if they were getting lousy care at their current residence. (Page 42.)

The audit covered 63 repeat-offender homes in Michigan, Texas, California and Pennsylvania.

Journalists in those states really have to look at the details of the abuse and neglect at some homes. Go to page 44 of the report. The GAO does not name the nursing homes, but your state should be able to find out which homes the GAO is referring to.

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