The chairman of a state House committee Tuesday called the results of inspections in two state-run nursing homes for veterans “shocking, unsettling and inexcusable.”
“The scenarios mentioned in the report would be horrendous at any nursing home or long-term care facility, but the fact that they occurred at state-run veterans homes — that our veterans suffered these abuses — is particularly troubling,” said Rep. Anthony J. Melio, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
Melio, a Bucks County Democrat, responded to a Tribune-Review story detailing state Health Department inspections that uncovered serious deficiencies at facilities in Scranton and Hollidaysburg. The department placed the Hollidaysburg home’s license on probationary status for five months last year.
An inspection report on the Hollidaysburg home described a veteran kicking and screaming while four staffers held him down for routine treatment. Inspectors cited the Scranton home for a scabies outbreak and lack of preventative care for serious bed sores.
The facilities are part of a statewide, 1,632-bed system the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs runs. Agency officials said deficiencies cited in the reports were corrected and the homes are fully licensed. The department’s other homes are in Pittsburgh, Erie and the Philadelphia region.
“We’ve taken note of each of the findings and taken steps to correct them,” department spokeswoman Joan Nissley said. “We take a proactive approach and strive to provide the best care to veterans.”
Melio said a “heightened level of monitoring” would be needed “to prevent this terrible treatment from occurring again.”
Frank Mills of Huntingdon, statewide commander of the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars, said concerns about care in the veterans homes would be the subject of upcoming meetings of Pennsylvania War Veterans Council and the State Veterans Commission.
“Our veterans might have seen or heard stories of soldiers lying on the battlefield, facing bad medical conditions, but they should not have to worry about disturbing and preventable treatment problems in our state veterans homes where they receive daily care,” Mills said.
He said “budget cuts, bad implementation of proper policies and substandard staff performances that may cause our veterans to suffer cannot be tolerated.”
State Sen. Kim Ward, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said agency officials this week assured her deficiencies were corrected. The Hempfield Republican said it is “vital that inspectors and administrators remain vigilant” and said she plans to tour the facilities in coming weeks.
Contact Steven Peck’s Premier Legal toll free at 1.866.999.9085 to talk to an experienced California Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney and visit us on-line at www.premierlegal.org.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.