Pennsylvania Agency Issued 169 Sanctions to Nursing Homes Last Year

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently announced the results of its 2018 nursing home inspections, reporting that its surveyors conducted 4,716 surveys at Pennsylvania nursing homes, issued 169 sanctions, and finalized civil penalties totaling more than $2.3 million.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently announced the results of its 2018 nursing home inspections, reporting that its surveyors conducted 4,716 surveys at Pennsylvania nursing homes, issued 169 sanctions, and finalized civil penalties totaling more than $2.3 million.

"Every day, our staff of surveyors are visiting nursing homes to ensure owners and operators are providing proper patient care and building safety standards are being met," Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. "We visit nursing homes for regular inspections and when we receive a complaint about a facility. This information is important to the families and loved ones of the residents receiving care at nursing homes, so each month we will highlight what we find and the actions we take."

The inspections, called surveys, include information on nursing home patient care and building inspections. If a facility is cited for not following regulations during the survey, it must submit a plan of correction that includes what will be done to fix the issue and a completion date. The department will conduct a surprise follow-up inspection to ensure the issue is resolved.

The department also may issue a sanction. Possible sanctions include a civil penalty, a ban on admissions, a license being revoked, or a facility being put on a provisional license that requires, among other things, being inspected every six months. A provisional license can be renewed no more than three times. The department can return the facility to a regular license if it is satisfied that all deficiencies were corrected and it is warranted.

The department's January 2019 report showed surveyors conducted 504 inspections at 315 nursing homes, including 295 complaint investigations. They issued 43 sanctions against nursing care facilities with civil penalties totaling more than $706,000.

"If you see something at a nursing home that doesn't seem right, we encourage you to speak up," Levine said. "You can make a complaint anonymously by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out the online complaint form, emailing c-ncomplai@pa.gov, or sending the complaint in the mail to the department."

The department maintains a searchable database here that allows the public to view patient care surveys, building safety surveys, size of a nursing home, type of ownership and additional information about each of the nursing homes in the state. The department oversees nearly 700 nursing homes and more than 88,000 beds within nursing homes in Pennsylvania, in addition to other facilities, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical facilities, home care agencies and others. Surveys are posted to the website 41 days after the survey is completed.

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