A Pennsylvania nursing home chain reached a settlement agreement with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office to pay $2 million to resolve claims that it misled consumers by failing to provide basic services to elderly and vulnerable residents. Reliant Senior Care Holdings, Inc. and related companies (collectively “Reliant”) agreed to pay the settlement, and they also agreed to a series of changes intended to make sure that staffing levels and care within its facilities match the representations made in marketing materials, care plans, and bills.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s investigation reportedly found that Reliant allegedly violated the Commonwealth’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law when it misled consumers through advertising and marketing materials, resident assessments, and care plans that promised to provide basic care to residents in its facilities but failed to do so by leaving its facilities understaffed.
The investigation allegedly found that Reliant limited the number of certified nurse aides at its facilities, rendering the facilities incapable of delivering the basic care that residents were promised and needed. The basic care included activities such as eating and drinking, incontinence care, transfer from a bed to a chair, repositioning in a bed, dressing, showering, range of motion exercises, and daily hygiene. The settlement requires Reliant to staff its Pennsylvania nursing homes in a manner that fully accounts for resident acuity and individual needs.
Between 2012 and the present, Reliant operated 22 skilled nursing facilities in Blair, Butler, Chester, Columbia, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Luzerne, Mercer, Montgomery, Northampton, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.
In announcing the settlement on October 4, 2016, the Pennsylvania Attorney General stated, “Reliant facilities failed to deliver on the promise to provide personalized services to meet residents’ individual needs. The settlement reached today will help us achieve greater accountability while ensuring that residents receive the quality of care they expect. A facility that makes these promises has to follow through.”
$1.25 million of the $2 million settlement will immediately go to the Pennsylvania Department of Health to fund the Department of Health’s plan to address Pennsylvania’s regulatory oversight of nursing homes.
The settlement was filed as a stipulated final judgment and consent decree in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas and requires court approval.
Nursing homes throughout the United States commonly promise prospective residents and their families that they have sufficient, qualified staff to attend to the needs of their residents, which is often explicitly promised in the nursing homes’ marketing materials, including in pamphlets and on their websites, often accompanied by photographs of smiling residents being lovingly attended to by caring nursing home staff. All too often the reality is that nursing home residents experience the lack of timely and appropriate nursing home care and services due to understaffing, leading to decreased enjoyment of life, catastrophic injuries, and/or death.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries, or worse, while a resident of a nursing home in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or due to nursing home understaffing, you should promptly find a local nursing home claim lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your possible nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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