Westmoreland Manor administrator out, replacement named |

Westmoreland Manor administrator out, replacement named

Rich Cholodofsky
Tribune-Review file
An exterior photograph of Westmoreland Manor in Hempfield on Monday, May 9, 2015.

The private company that manages Westmoreland Manor has hired a new administrator to oversee day-to-day operations at the county-owned nursing home.

Premier Healthcare Resources, the Penn Township-based firm that was paid more than $586,000 last year to run the 408-bed facility in Hempfield, this week replaced John Austin, the nursing home’s manager who had been on the job since 2016.

Westmoreland County commissioners announced that Angela Knauff was named as the facility’s new administrator. Knauff, according to a resume on file with the county, has more than 26 years experience as a nurse and administrator having served at numerous nursing home facilities in the region.

Neither Austin nor Knauff could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Premier Healthcare officials referred all questions about the change to Commissioner Gina Cerilli, who said the management switch was a mutual decision between the private company and county officials.

“We decided to change directors and go in a new direction. I won’t go into reasons for the change but it was a joint decision,” Cerilli said.

Premier Healthcare in 2016 purchased the private company that was originally hired two years earlier to oversee operations at the Manor. It came at a time when oversight at the nursing home was being questioned by county commissioners on the heels of a state inspection a year earlier that found dozens of violations that included some patient care issues and resulted in more than $14,000 in state and federal fines assessed to the county.

Premier paid the county’s fines and in 2016 was given a new, five-year contract extension to manage the nursing home through March 2021.

A new state inspection in September found numerous violations at the Manor, most having to deal with administrative and policy issues, including a failure by staff to report to allegations of improper sexual behavior by one resident against another at the facility. No patient care violations were found in the report and state inspectors issued a follow-up report a month later noting all outstanding issues had been corrected.

“The inspection was part of our decision,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas about the management change. “We want to make the positive trajectory of the Manor continue. We are pleased with the progress made there but we’re not satisfied.”

In addition to the Manor, Premier Healthcare operates a group of private nursing homes both in the county and throughout Pennsylvania.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]