As Pa. bolsters nursing home inspections, rate of penalties up

After scathing reports last year showed Pennsylvania routinely failed to detect or punish elder abuse, the state Department of Health is cracking down on lax nursing home inspections.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Ryan Briggs
March 14, 2016

Tags: Nursing Homes, Seniors

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


An investigation by nonprofit Community Legal Services last year found that the department had dismissed 92 percent of the nursing complaints it received. The few remaining cases the department did follow up on were frequently downgraded. Cases where residents died or were severely injured were often classified by state inspectors as “minor incidents.”

The department is now ramping up its enforcement efforts in response, said Dr. Karen Murphy, state health secretary.

“We are taking very seriously our responsibility to protect nursing home residents,” she said. “We consider it to be the mission of the department. And we have increased the way people concerned about nursing home care can communicate with us to address the problem.”