The Pennsylvania Department of Health has put together a task force that will work to find new ways to advance quality improvement in Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities. In the wake of allegations of inadequate care in 14 nursing homes operated by Golden Senior Living between 2008 and 2014, Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, said the state will take “immediate steps” to address the issue in her announcement about the task force earlier this month. “I am pleased to announce the Department of Health has formed a task force to determine what additional measures can be taken to ensure enhanced quality in these facilities.”
Nursing home abuse is all too common across the United States. A study done by the staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States — 5,283 facilities — were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over a recent two-year period, from January 1999 to January 2001. Types of abuse demonstrated in nursing homes includes physical, sexual, emotional & psychological, neglect, abandonment, self-neglect and resident-to-resident abuse.
Today there are about 1.4 million residents spread across 17,000 nursing homes across the United States. Pennsylvania is home to about 700 of these nursing homes. According to Nursing Home Report Cards, a Families for Better Care non-profit project that analyzes, compares and ranks state’s nursing home quality by utilizing staffing data compiled by the Kaiser Health Foundation, performance measures from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare, and the Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman complaint data, PA’s nursing homes were ranked as 26th best in the nation in 2013. In 2014, PA fell 6 spots down to 32nd in the nation with an overall grade of D. However, PA ranked among the best in the nation in Severe Deficiencies with only 14 severe deficiencies in 2014.