Over the last two decades, 366 Pennsylvania nursing homes were fined almost $5 million for “federal deficiencies in care largely related to the health and safety of residents,” according to the Reading Eagle.
Individually, the average fine was no more than $6,000, which critics have declared too generous.
Marty Kardon, former chairman of the nursing home litigation committee for the American Association of Justice, stated that pulling licenses is the only way to “slap them down,” rather than these small fines.
As a comparison, state surveyors imposed a little over $170,000 in fines, as opposed to the federal government who fined more than $2 million. The Reading Eagle reported that this is due to the state wanting to educate facilities before cracking down and fining them.
Additionally, they discovered that the top 10 biggest offenders were all part of the largest chains of nursing homes in PA.
Another major issue comes into play with fine reductions.
Fines can be reduced by up to half if the facility waives their appeal or settle. Diane Menio, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, told the Reading Eagle that there are back door deals that permit this to happen. With so many cases of abuse and neglect, something must be done. A more dramatic punishment has to be enacted.