Pennsylvania nursing home staff report instructions to alter medical records, conceal shortcomings

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Staff members at a VA nursing home in Pennsylvania reported they were asked to change residents' medical records to hide staffing shortages and make patients seem healthier than they were, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, staff shortages and other policies at Southeastern Veterans' Center in Spring City, Pa., may have put residents in danger of contracting the virus, according to the report. For example, residents at the 238-bed facility continued to eat in dining halls even after there were COVID-19 positive tests within the facility. Supervisors also discouraged nurses from wearing masks to avoid frightening the residents, and around 38 residents died due to the virus.

Staff members who spoke with the Inquirer reported that they altered medical records to hide understaffing and other shortcomings. Similar issues with false documentation occurred before the pandemic as well; according to the report, a former nurse said she was instructed to alter a death certificate for a patient to remove information about a recent fall.

Nurses were also asked to change their notes so residents appeared healthier and more satisfied with treatment.

More articles on medical records:
How Mass General Brigham is extracting, sharing data from EHR for COVID-19 research
5 things to know about the team leading AdventHealth's Epic EHR transition
Cerner expands predictive analytics offering: 3 things to know


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