Former Manager of PA Nursing Home Pleads Guilty to Endangering Residents: The understaffing ordered by Chaim “Charlie” Steg, regional operations director for the St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Darby, PA, led to the serious health complications of three residents.
On June 2 a manager of a suburban Philadelphia nursing home pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless endangerment of three residents, says an article on nbcphiladelphia.com. Chaim “Charlie” Steg had been regional operations director for the St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Darby where three residents who died in 2017 were determined to have suffered extreme health complications as a result of inadequate staffing levels.
According to the article, police and the PA Department of Health notified the attorney general’s office about St. Francis after the Delaware County aging office received complaints from Mercy Catholic Medical Center that a number of residents sent from the home had arrived there in poor health. An investigation revealed a “systemic failure” due primarily to inadequate staffing.
According to Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the poor staffing at the 273-bed facility was not the result of financial hardship; on the contrary, Shapiro said, the nursing home had been profitable under Steg’s control. In spite of several communications that the home was understaffed—a single staffing coordinator reported employee shortages 40 times, said the article—Steg made no move to remedy the crisis. One former nursing director, desperate to assuage the situation, hired nurses despite Steg’s orders not to do so.
The three residents at St. Francis whose ailments were allowed to deteriorate prior to their deaths in 2017 suffered from the following health conditions: an extensive colon infection and dehydration; severe dehydration and septic shock; and acute late-stage pressure ulcers and a bacterial infection.
These advanced health conditions, brought on by understaffing, are evidence of nursing home neglect:
- Pressure Ulcers—Commonly known as bedsores, but also called pressure wounds, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers are pressure-induced wounds that develop on the skin when an individual is left for prolonged periods in the same position, such as in their beds or wheelchairs. If neglected, bed sores can rapidly worsen into serious wounds.
- Dehydration—Although federal law requires nursing homes to provide adequate fluids to residents, some homes—especially short-staffed homes—fail to do so, and any consequent dehydration suffered by residents is a result of neglect.
- Bedsores and dehydration often go hand-in-hand: bedsore development of dehydrated residents is a common sign of nursing home neglect.
- Infections—In understaffed nursing homes, infections can go undetected by overburdened staff and are left to worsen.
According to the attorney general’s office, St. Francis has agreed both to maintain adequate staffing and to be audited by the state Health Department at three month intervals for a year. The operating company of the home, 1412 Lansdowne Operating LLC, and Catholic Facilities Operating LLC, will pay over a half million dollars toward caring for St. Francis’ residents and will also give $100,000 to the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly.
Former manager of PA nursing home pleads guilty to endangering residents, Steg, whose sentencing was set for October, will serve, according to his plea deal, 6 to 23 months on house arrest and three years of probation. He will pay fines and restitution of $15,000 and will be barred from managing a skilled nursing facility for five years.
Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe
It is essential to be sure that the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives takes every measure necessary to protect its residents. Your loved one’s Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home is required to meet every health and safety standard, including the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents. Should you have concerns about the quality of care in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.