Audit questions enforcement of nursing home staffing levels

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s fiscal watchdog says a new audit shows the state Department of Health isn’t effectively enforcing nursing home staffing levels.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office reported Tuesday that the department lacked policies for how it reviews staffing levels.

Pennsylvania requires nursing homes to provide at least 2.7 hours of direct nursing care, per resident, per day.

But the audit says facilities that weren’t complying weren’t always cited. It says the department cited facilities 13 times during the audit period for failing to meet the state standard. That’s out of more than 7,200 inspections.

It says the department never required a nursing home to increase its staffing levels. That’s despite finding numerous instances of poor quality of care.

The department says it introduced a new policy in April and disputed some of the audit’s findings.

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