Pa. Attorney General agents raid St. Francis nursing home in Darby

Agents from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office were at St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare on Wednesday.

Darby Borough police and agents from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday raided St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, whose regular license was revoked by state regulators Sept. 1 after an August inspection found serious problems with care.

The facility was allowed to continue operating during an appeal of the revocation.

James M. Donegan, who spent 2½ hours visiting his mother at St. Francis on Wednesday, estimated that there were a dozen officers at the facility. “They’re everywhere,” he said, “trying to get all the records they need, the documents they need.”

A Darby police officer approached Donegan in the driveway as he was leaving and asked about the care his 93-year-old mother was receiving, Donegan said later, “how many times she fell down, what the service was like, how many times she had to be transported to a different hospital because of injuries.”

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said he “could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation.”

“The facility is cooperating” with law enforcement, said a spokeswoman for Center Management Group, the New York company that bought the 273-bed St. Francis and six other senior-care facilities in 2014 from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for $145 million.

An Aug. 23 inspection, prompted by five complaints, found patterns of harm involving severely deficient wound care, failure to respond to residents who suffered significant weight loss because they were not eating, inadequate response to acute change in medical condition, and other problems, according to a document on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

Among the details in the report was that a patient admitted in April developed four new wounds at St. Francis, including “wounds that went down to the bone with exposed tendon.”

The state Health Department installed a temporary manager at St. Francis and set conditions on continued operations, including increased levels of nursing care and the hiring of two new wound-care nurses. State regulators prohibited new admissions to the facility until it met certain benchmarks. That ban remains in effect.

The state Attorney General’s Office has been involved in several nursing-home enforcement cases in recent years. For example, after agreeing to a $2 million settlement for allegedly not providing enough staff to adequately care for residents, Reliant Senior Care, based in Eddystone, sold 17 nursing homes in August 2016.