Several Pennsylvania nursing homes are under investigation after the state attorney general’s office received complaints about criminal neglect of patients and residents.
A spokesperson from the office said complaints had increased amid the coronavirus pandemic. Such oversight, however is a normal part of the attorney general’s Care-Dependent Neglect Team, within the Medicaid Fraud Control Section, which has jurisdiction on matters of criminal neglect.
No information on the exact number of nursing homes under investigation was available, or any other details on the nature of the complaints.
Shapiro said that protecting seniors was one of the core responsibilities of his office, particularly during the pandemic.
“We will hold nursing facilities and caretakers criminally accountable if they fail to properly provide care to our loved ones,” Shapiro said. “While we salute and appreciate nursing home staff on the front lines during this pandemic, we will not tolerate those who mistreat our seniors and break the law. Active criminal investigations are already underway and we encourage people to share relevant complaints with us on our special tip line so we can best protect people in nursing homes.”
The announcement of criminal investigation comes on the heels of state health officials outlining new protocol to fight the coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes, long-term care living facilities, and assisted living facilities.
Beginning May 17, these locations will be required to test all residents and staff and then report confirmed coronavirus cases, deaths, and the number of tests performed to the state, Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said on Tuesday. These facilities will use the same reporting system that hospitals currently use, and the information will be reported publically.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has primary regulating and licensing authority of nursing homes; however Shapiro’s office has jurisdiction on matters of criminal neglect.
The Neglect Team reviews allegations regarding mistreatment of care-dependent adults.
Source: Penn Live