Pennsylvania Department of
Public Welfare expands scope of personal care home
regulations upheld by Commonwealth court now in effect
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 7 /PRNewswire/
-- The complete set of new regulations designed to improve the
safety of residents of Pennsylvania's more than 1,600 personal care
homes are finally being implemented after being upheld by
Commonwealth Court. The Department of Public Welfare began using the
new regulations in personal care home inspections this week.
"These regulations will result in
a higher level of safety and protection, specifically in areas of
fire safety, emergency preparedness, resident rights and staffing,"
said Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman. "A
recent Commonwealth Court ruling upholding these regulations is a
significant victory for residents of personal care homes and their
families. We are extremely pleased with the outcome."
A sweeping package of personal
care home regulations became effective on Oct. 24, 2005. The
regulations were challenged in court by personal care home
providers, who initially sought to stop the implementation of the
entire set of regulations.
In response to the challenge,
Commonwealth Court suspended 13 sections of the new regulations
pending further review. Over the past few months, the Department of
Public Welfare implemented the other regulations while waiting for
the court to rule.
On May 24, 2006, Commonwealth
Court dismissed the providers' challenges to the validity of the
regulations on all counts. The court declared the regulations to be
in full force and effect, with no exceptions. In response to the
petitioners' claim that the new administrator qualification
standards went beyond the law, the court ruled that DPW has
authority to regulate the "standards for knowledge, education or
training" of personal care home administrators.
Pennsylvania's personal care homes
serve more than 52,000 frail elderly adults and adults with physical
or mental disabilities needing help and supervision with daily care
needs such as bathing, dressing, eating, walking and managing
medications. The Department provides health and safety protection to
the residents through the regular inspection and licensing of
personal care homes.
The Department of Public Welfare
helps people meet their basic needs by providing health care and
other critical support services for children, the elderly, people
with chronic diseases, persons with disabilities and low income
families and adults in Pennsylvania. DPW is dedicated to promoting,
improving, and sustaining the quality of family life; breaking the
cycle of dependency while protecting and serving Pennsylvania's most
vulnerable citizens. Visit DPW on the Internet at: