Community Issues

Fines Increase for Deficient Nursing Homes

Fines for PA nursing homes considered deficient are up ten-fold in the last 3 years. Here's why, and which ones got the worst fines.

Pennsylvania appears to be getting tougher with nursing homes that don't do a good job of taking care of seniors, and they're hitting those homes where it hurts: in the pocketbook.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pennsylvania Health Department, which regulates nursing homes in PA, doubled its fines against nursing homes to $2.3 million in 2018. That's more than 10 times as much as the state fined nursing homes just three years ago. "We want our civil penalties to be meaningful but not punitive. We want them to be meaningful to ensure safety and quality of care," Dr. Rachel Levine of the health Department told the P-G. Pennsylvania has 702 nursing homes.

"It's one thing that can induce change." Dr. Rachel Levine, PA Department of Health

Four local nursing homes in Allegheny County were fined:

  • Manorcare Health Services-Shadyside, $15,000
  • Longwood at Oakmont, $13,250
  • Monroeville Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, $7,000
  • UPMC Heritage Place, $5,931.90

You can see all the homes the state fined, how much, and why by clicking here .

Nursing home patient advocates are praising in the more aggressive stance against homes, while a group that represents for-profit nursing homes wants to know if the health department has proof that increasing fines equals better care.

At the same time fines went up in 2018, the P-G says the Health Department reduced the other type of enforcement it uses to get homes' attention: provisional licenses, which bring more scrutiny on deficient homes, and let the public know there are problems at a facility.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is expected to issue a proposal sometime this year for the state's first significant update of nursing home regulations in 20 years.

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