Attorney General DePasquale released audit report on DOH oversight of nursing facilities
On July 26, 2016, the state Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, released a performance audit report on the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and its mission of regulating nursing facilities. The report is categorized into three areas and includes 13 findings and 23 recommendations.
The first area of concern is nurse staffing. The report not only speaks to lack of consistency in DOH's process to calculate and cite nursing facilities for not meeting the state standard of 2.7 nursing hours per patient day, but it also suggests the regulation should be revisited for possible revision, citing a 2006 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study that seemingly recommended a nurse staffing level of 4.1 nursing hours.
The second area of concern is complaint handling. The most notable issue was the lack of review of anonymous complaints.
The third area of concern is DOH rarely imposes civil monetary penalties as allowed under state law. During the audit period of January 2014 through October 2015, DOH issued only $172,350 in state monetary penalties, while at the same time federal penalties of $2 million were issued. The report recommends that the state review its laws and seek to provide more stringent civil monetary penalties.
Messages from the CEO – state of the association
Ron Barth, President and CEO reported that one of the more revolutionary changes that members face is the major shift in managed care for long-term services and supports. Pennsylvania’s program, Community HealthChoices (CHC), is in play, and LeadingAge PA continues to fight for safeguards for providers and consumers. LeadingAge PA is working with the Department of Human Services to make sure the CHC Managed Care Organizations can’t negotiate rates lower than current provider payments. LeadingAge PA continues to advocate for adding assisted living residences as a setting of care for CHC and will continue to push for the inclusion of personal care homes.
On August 16, 2016, Ron Barth, President and CEO, announced that advocacy is one of the most important things LeadingAge PA does for members. To increase its effectiveness, LeadingAge PA recently launched the LeadingAge PA Political Action Committee (PAC) to increase its legislative advocacy and presence in Harrisburg. This is a voluntary member sponsored PAC and another tool that will allow LeadingAge PA to further strengthen and expand our visibility with the Pennsylvania General Assembly and other elected officials. The goal is to raise $150,000 per year for the PAC.
LeadingAge PA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition was another resounding success, with huge attendance and meaningful, inspiring education sessions. LeadingAge PA’s goal in 2016 is to offer more education in multiple formats, and the first half of the year has shown that this has been a good strategy. Ten webinars, Four symposiums, and two Regional Member Interchanges so far this year brought members together and helped get members up to speed on the important issues.