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Nearly 1,000 Pa. nursing home complaints investigated during coronavirus: health officials
Patriot-News - 5/23/2020
Health officials announced on Saturday that Pennsylvania nursing homes have been asked to pay more than $93,000 in penalties because of inspections over the last three months.
Nearly 1,500 inspections have been completed at nursing homes across the state since February, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said. More than 900 complaints have been filed.
Ten sanctions were finalized against care facilities, according to Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. The consequences of sanctions civil penalties, bans on admissions, licenses being revoked, or the facility being placed under a provisional license, which can require more inspections than normal.
Facilities that don’t meet the state’s standards must submit a plan to correct the issues. Health officials undergo surprise check-ups later on to ensure the changes have been made, Levine said.
The health secretary said the Wolf administration has taken a three-fold approach to combating the coronavirus in long-term care facilities -- providing education and testing; preventing or mitigating outbreaks; and overseeing collaboration between facility directors and the government.
“We know that congregate care settings, like nursing homes, have been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Levine said. “That is why we remain committed to protecting the health and well-being of our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians by continuing to hold nursing home operators accountable, as necessary, to ensure they are providing safe care."
The Department of Health shared the monthly breakdown:
486 surveys of 336 separate facilities
113 building safety surveys
373 patient care surveys
298 complaint investigations
537 surveys of 359 separate facilities
150 building safety surveys
387 patient care surveys
321 complaint investigations
450 surveys of 314 separate facilities
119 building safety surveys
331 patient care surveys
288 complaint investigations
Last year’s penalties added up to more than $2.5 million from 5,381 inspections of 3,637 nursing homes, including 3,285 complaint investigations, according to Department of Health data.
Annual inspections aren’t being conducted right now, but Levine is encouraging anyone who knows of inadequate conditions to contact health officials.
“If you see something at a nursing home that doesn’t seem right, we encourage you to speak up,” she said.
Anonymous complaints can be made by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out the online complaint form, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending the complaint in the mail to the department.
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