Lawyer Resources for Pennsylvania

Lawyers Representing Neglected Residents at The Grove at Irwin

To ensure the health and well-being of all residents at a nursing facility, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the state of Pennsylvania routinely conduct investigations and surveys. If the agencies find severe violations and deficiencies, they can demand immediate corrections be made to protect the residents, visitors, and employees. If the nursing home fails to make adjustments and corrections promptly, they can lose their contract to provide care to Medicaid and Medicare patients or be required to close their doors.

Recently, the Grove at Irwin was designated a Special Focus Facility (SFF). This label means that the facility has been alerted that they are now under a watchful eye of the Federal and PA State government and must make mandatory changes immediately. Also, the facility was fined with monetary penalties because of their recurring underlying problems. The nursing home is given months to make needed adjustments and will undergo unscheduled inspections and ongoing surveys to allow the regulatory agencies to determine if the improvements they have made are permanent. Some of the serious violations are listed below.

Pressure Sores Sign of NeglectOne of the more difficult social responsibilities that we have is serving on a jury.  In addition to the obvious inconvenience and time away from family and work responsibilities, jurors have the difficult task of determining who to believe in a situation where completely contradictory explanations of an incident are being offered.

At most medical malpractice and personal injury trials, the party initiating the lawsuit (the plaintiff) is claiming they sustained an injury due to the conduct of the person that they are suing (the defendant)– who generally denies all accusations of wrongdoing.

For a jury who may be hearing weeks worth of testimony from witnesses from both sides, the task of selecting the relevant information and applying it to the particular circumstance can be incredibly difficult— particularly when both sides to a trial offer reasonable explanations for their positions.

Nursing Homes Poorly Controlling InfectionsA report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report concluded that nursing homes need to do a better job when it comes to implementing infection control programs at their facilities.  After studying a group of patients at a Pennsylvania nursing home requiring specialized neurologic and pulmonary care, it was revealed that infections such as Group A Streptococcus were alarmingly prevalent.

Within the group of nursing home patients studied, patients with open wounds (such as bed sores) and invasive Group A Streptococcus fared the worst with an approximately 20% mortality rate.

Not surprisingly, the study concluded that nursing homes need to do a better job creating and implementing infection prevention programs in their facilities in order to reduce infection rates.  Hand sanitation and wound care were prominent factors deemed to reduce such infection rates.

Recent decisions by Federal Courts in Pennsylvania and Vermont may pave the way to extended Medicare benefits to individuals with chronic medical conditions.

Expanded Medicare CoverageIf the decisions are upheld, no longer will a Medicare recipient be required to demonstrate that their condition will improve in order for the treatment to be covered under Medicare. These decisions may help clarify the type of benefits a large number of Medicare recipients are entitled to who suffer from progressive conditions that are difficult categorize.

Both cases have effectively invalidated the standards utilized by the Obama administration for determining if Medicare will cover care related to treatment of chronic conditions and disabilities such as: Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and broken hips.

Scabies Outbreak In Nursing HomeFifteen residents of the Gallagher Center of Saint Mary’s Home in Erie, PA have developed what physicians believe was scabies, a contagious skin infection caused by skin mites. An unknown number of staff and patients’ family members also developed the condition.  The first case was reported in the spring, though most cases were reported in June and July according to the facility.  The original patient was treated by a dermatologist, but other cases followed.

Once the the nursing home realized that it was dealing with a scabies outbreak, every patient in the 39-bed Alzheimer’s unit examined. The nursing home also ordered the entire unit disinfected, including patients’ beds three straight days.  Scabies is usually not a dangerous condition, but it can lead to painful skin infections. It is spread by skin-to-skin contact and by sharing towels or bed sheets.  Scabies is commonly treated with the prescription drugs permethrin (Elimite, Acticin) and crotamiton (Eurax).

For more information on nursing homes in Pennsylvania look here. For laws related to Pennsylvania nursing homes, look here.

Client Reviews

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
★★★★★
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric