June 28, 2007 -
U.S. FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST HATBORO, PA NURSING FACILITY FOR PEDIATRIC AND ADOLESCENT MEDICALLY FRAGILE RESIDENTS
Complaint Alleges Facility Operates Without A Nursing Facility License And Fails To Properly Care for Residents
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Pat Meehan today announced the filing of a complaint* for injunctive relief against the Holland-Glen Nursing Facility located at 412 S. York Rd. in Hatboro, Pa. The complaint, which is joined in by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, alleges that Holland- Glen has been and continues to operate without a nursing facility license. According to the complaint, Holland-Glen’s services substantially depart from generally accepted professional standards of care, thereby exposing patients to significant risk and, in some cases, to actual harm. The complaint seeks an injunction to prevent Holland-Glen from continuing to provide unlicensed and inadequate care.
“This is a life and death issue,” said Meehan. “All previous efforts to bring this facility into compliance have failed and we are taking this step in an attempt to ensure the safety of the residents.”
Holland-Glen’s Hatboro facility is a residential skilled nursing facility for approximately 20 to 30 medically fragile residents who range in age from infants to individuals in their early twenties. Many of the residents breathe with the assistance of a ventilator and are fed through feeding tubes. Most of the child-residents require around-the-clock medical attention. Although it promises to provide skilled nursing services to the residents of the Hatboro nursing facility, Holland-Glen has not applied for and does not possess any license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to operate such a facility. Holland-Glen has a license to operate only as a community group home for mentally retarded persons.
The complaint alleges, among other things, that Holland-Glen fails to properly respond to patient respiratory alarms. When a resident’s ventilator alarm sounds, it means that the resident is likely having difficulty breathing and probably requires assistance such as suctioning the resident’s airway. Failure to respond can result in serious harm, even death.
The complaint also alleges that Holland-Glen fails to comply with professionally accepted standards relating to care of its residents’ wounds.
Residents who are immobile (the condition of many Holland-Glen residents) can develop pressure ulcers if they are not properly cared for and do not receive appropriate nutrition. A pressure ulcer is an area of skin that breaks down when a resident remains in one position for too long without having his/her weight shifted. The constant pressure against the skin reduces the blood supply to the affected area, and the affected tissue dies. The ulcer can become so deep that there is damage to the muscle and bone, and sometimes to tendons and joints. In at least one alleged case, a Holland-Glen resident developed a pressure ulcer as large as a fist and required hospitalization to remove the dead tissue in the wound.
The complaint further alleges that Holland-Glen fails to comply with generally accepted standards of care relating to pain management and assessment. For example, Holland-Glen failed timely to assess and treat the splintered/crushed leg bone of a resident. When the fracture was finally diagnosed, the resident’s pain resulting from the broken leg was not appropriately assessed or treated in a timely manner.
In addition, according to the complaint, Holland-Glen fails to properly
administer medications, provide proper general resident care, check the backgrounds
of its employees, and has falsified both resident medical records and records
of billings to governmental and other payors.
This case is being investigated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Pennsylvania Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys Marilyn May, Gerald Sullivan and Anthony Kyriakakis and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Senior Counsel, Howard Ulan.
STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Benjamin Franklin Photo by B. Krist for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation