Pa. Attorney General files suit against O’Hara firm over care at 11 nursing homes
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has filed a lawsuit against an O’Hara-based skilled nursing home chain for misrepresenting the level of care it can provide patients given alleged chronic understaffing.
Attorney General Bruce Beemer’s office filed the suit Friday in Commonwealth Court against Grane Healthcare Co. and 11 facilities it manages, including: Highland Park Care Center in Pittsburgh, Woodhaven Care Center in Monroeville, Riverside Care Center in Mc-Keesport, HarmarVillage Care Center in Harmar, Kittanning Care Center, Providence Care Center in Beaver Falls, Harmon House Care Center in Mt. Pleasant, the Altoona Center for Nursing Care, Cambria Care Center in Ebensburg, Laurelwood Care Center in Johnstown and Colonial Park Care Center in Harrisburg.
In the suit, the AG’s office said patients, their families and Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program were paying an average of $5,970 to $7,680 per month depending on the level of care for elderly or vulnerable residents. But Grane limited the number of certified nursing assistants on duty at its facilities and thus was unable to provide the levels of service it promised and billed for, the lawsuit contends.
“Grane facilities advertised and marketed to consumers that they strive for a very high staff-to-patient ratio and base staffing on patient acuity levels,” the AG’s office said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “The lawsuit alleges that this conduct was deceptive, misleading and unfair.”
Mark Grane, president of Grane Healthcare, said in a statement Friday that his firm “has not had the opportunity to review the specific allegations in the complaint but believe the lawsuit is completely unfounded.”
According to the AG’s complaint:
• Incontinent residents were not changed for hours at a time, and residents who needed help going to the bathroom soiled themselves when they couldn’t get timely assistance.
• Showers were skipped, rushed or started at 5 a.m. and earlier because there weren’t enough staff on the day shift to do them.
• Staff transferring or repositioning residents in their beds didn’t have enough help to do so safely. Instead of being repositioned every two hours to avoid bedsores, residents would wait three to four hours.
• Staff would excessively or inappropriately drug or physically restrain patients.
• Residents would not get enough to eat or drink because staff didn’t have time to assist them.
“These and other shortcomings in Basic Care result in a loss of dignity, mobility and function, and comfort for these residents,” the lawsuit said.
The AG’s office is seeking refunds for customers and the state, as well as up to a $3,000 fine for every violation of the consumer protection law involving a person 60 years or older.
Residents or family members with complaints about Grane facilities are asked to call the Attorney General’s Office Health Care Section at 877-888-4877.
Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or [email protected].