Pa. has to better protect nursing home residents

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has been failing to do its job to protect nursing home residents for several years. This civil legal aid program works to change that.

Op-Ed (Pennsylvania)

Sam Brooks
LNP News (PA)
August 2, 2015

Tags: Nursing Homes, Seniors

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia


As a legal aid attorney at Community Legal Services, I have seen it all: people with disabilities who were illegally discharged from a nursing home to a homeless shelter, senior citizens who experienced physical abuse, and residents who suffered serious harm due to deficient care provided by nursing homes, and more.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health enforces federal and state laws that protect nursing home residents. Over the years, CLS and others had been filing complaints with the department about nursing homes, with little to no result. So CLS began to analyze complaint and investigation data from the Department of Health website; what we found was quite shocking.

From 2012-2014, the department dismissed 92 percent of complaints made against nursing homes in Philadelphia. These complaints were made by nursing home residents, their families, facility staff, or advocates for nursing home residents. Although not every complaint against a nursing home may be valid, it is unbelievable that 92 percent would be dismissed.