Group pushes for registry after nurse charged in patient deaths

The Pennsylvania Health Care Association is advocating for legislation that would open a registry for nursing home employees in order to identify concerns regarding potentially troubled workers faster, ABC affiliate WTAE reported Nov. 3.

The push came after a former Pennsylvania nurse charged with the mistreatment of 22 patients at five nursing home facilities starting in 2020. Earlier this year, Heather Pressdee, 41, was charged with giving lethal doses of insulin to three patients, two of whom were not diabetic, at a skilled nursing facility in Chicora, Pa., in 2022. On Nov. 2, she was charged with mistreating an additional 19 patients, according to a Justice Department news release. Two of the charges announced Nov. 2 are first-degree murder.

Investigators said Ms. Pressdee resigned or was fired from all her positions, which allowed her to get jobs even if she was suspected of causing harm, Zach Shamberg, president of the PHCA, told WTAE.

"I think the key ingredient here and what was missed was that employers weren't able to share their red flags that they saw with new prospective employers," Mr. Shamberg said. "We at the Pennsylvania Health Care Association have been looking to implement some sort of formal registry, some sort of system that could flag caregivers that are not fit to work in a healthcare setting, so we can stop this from ever happening again."

Legislation to create this registry was filed in Harrisburg, according to the report.

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