Brewster gives his support to care home reform bills in state Senate
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013, 5:26 a.m.
State Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport, is supporting a colleague's bid to reform the nursing home business.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, said bills by Sen. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, would not apply to personal care homes such as the now-closed Liberty Manor facility.
“A skilled nursing center is a 24/7 medical facility,” PHCA spokeswoman Alison Everett said. “A personal care home is just that, a place that provides personal care such as help with bathing or dressing but not medical care.”
While the state Department of Health regulates skilled nursing centers, the Department of Public Welfare governs personal care homes.
Still, Brewster applauded Smith's Senate Bills 625 and 626, “in light of what has happened, not just in Liberty but all around the state.”
SB 625 would require nursing homes to report turnover and staffing levels to the health department.
SB 626 would require the homes to spend a minimum amount of their Medicaid resident care per-diem rate.
Brewster said he is preparing a bill to require a thorough background check for those hired to work in any center caring for the elderly.
He recalled a May 2012 incident in which a 71-year-old woman was raped in an assisted living facility in Ambridge, allegedly by a 51-year-old employee.
“I had 60-70 co-sponsors as of (Wednesday),” Brewster said. “You are going to see more and more need for these kinds of places and most of them do a wonderful job. We need to look at these organizations and regulate them in a fair way to help our seniors.”
Everett and PHCA CEO Stuart H. Shapiro were responding to Smith's bills as well as to a report issued by the Service Employees International Union's SEIU Healthcare PA.
SEIU said nearly one in three skilled nursing facilities failed to spend all of the state funding intended for residents on actual care. PHCA said such centers are paid far less than the actual cost of care for residents on Medicaid.
“Many of the state's nursing homes that serve a high population of Medicaid residents are teetering on fiscal ruin,” Shapiro said.
Since 2010, the PHCA CEO said, Pennsylvania nursing homes have had their Medicare payments cut by almost $400 million.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 5 Operation Pork Chop defendants sentenced to 5 years probation
- West Mifflin mayor seeks to use county airport ‘to its fullest potential’
- Munhall dispatch to switch to county 911 by end of May
- Duquesne fire displaces 2 families
- South Allegheny enters agreement for website advertising
- Duquesne City School District in tug-of-war over contract proposal
- East Allegheny wins Kennywood’s Education Days contest
- Repairs slated to South First Avenue in Elizabeth
- 2 key Operation Pork Chop defendants delay pleas
- 73-home subdivision plan approved for Westwood Golf Club
- State to provide materials for Duquesne sinkhole repair