AG set­tles with Re­liant nurs­ing home chain

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Donna Rovins drovins@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Mer­cBiz on Twit­ter

HARRISBURG >> The Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice has reached a set­tle­ment with a chain of nurs­ing homes that had been ac­cused of mis­lead­ing con­sumers by fail­ing to pro­vide ba­sic ser­vices to el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents.

Un­der the set­tle­ment an­nounced Tues­day by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bruce R. Beemer, Re­liant Se­nior Care Hold­ings Inc. and re­lated com­pa­nies are re­quired to pay $2 mil­lion to the Of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­eral. In ad­di­tion, Re­liant must also im­ple­ment a se­ries of changes aimed at as­sur­ing that staffing lev­els and care within fa­cil­i­ties owned or op­er­ated by Re­liant match the rep­re­sen­ta­tions made in mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als, care plans and bills.

Be­tween 2012 and the present, Re­liant op­er­ated 22 skilled nurs­ing fa­cil­i­ties through­out the com­mon­wealth, in­clud­ing Ch­ester and Delaware coun­ties. The re­gional fa­cil­i­ties named in the set­tle­ment are: Pem­brooke Health and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter in West Ch­ester, Ch­ester County; Coven­try Manor Health and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter, South Coven­try, Ch­ester County; Prospect Park Health and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter, Prospect Park, Delaware County; Re­liant Se­nior Care Hold­ings and RSC Con­soli-

dated Hold­ings, Ed­dy­s­tone, Delaware County.

The set­tle­ment was the re­sult of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted by the Of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Health Care Sec­tion, which re­vealed 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. Re­liant promised to pro­vide ba­sic care to res­i­dents in its fa­cil­i­ties, as al­leged by the com­mon­wealth, but failed to do so by leav­ing its fa­cil­i­ties un­der­staffed.

“Re­liant fa­cil­i­ties failed to de­liver on the prom­ise to pro­vide per­son­al­ized ser­vices to meet res­i­dents’ in­di­vid­ual needs,” Beemer. “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.”

Of the $2 mil­lion be­ing paid un­der the terms of the set­tle­ment, $1.25 mil­lion will im­me­di­ately go to the Depart­ment of Health. Those funds will be used

to fund the Depart­ment of Health’s plan to ad­dress Penn­syl­va­nia’s reg­u­la­tory over­sight of nurs­ing homes.

Dur­ing the time pe­riod in ques­tion, it is al­leged that Re­liant lim­ited the num­bers of cer­ti­fied nurse aides at its fa­cil­i­ties, ren­der­ing the fa­cil­i­ties in­ca­pable of de­liv­er­ing the ba­sic care that res­i­dents were promised and needed. This ba­sic care in­cludes 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 terms of the set­tle­ment re­quire Re­liant to staff in a man­ner that fully

ac­counts for res­i­dent acu­ity and in­di­vid­ual needs.

The Of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of this mat­ter in­cluded in­ter­views with for­mer em­ploy­ees of Re­liant fa­cil­i­ties and a re­view of sur­vey re­sults re­ported by the Depart­ment of Health. The At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice also re­viewed doc­u­ments and in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by Re­liant, which co­op­er­ated with the of­fice’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The set­tle­ment, which re­quires court ap­proval, was filed in the form of a stip­u­lated fi­nal judg­ment and con­sent de­cree in the Dauphin County Court of Com­mon Pleas.

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