On May 12, 2020, Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, announced that his office has opened criminal investigations into several unnamed Pennsylvania nursing homes for criminal neglect of patients and residents. Claims of criminal neglect arise when caretakers fail to provide for the health, safety and welfare of residents under their care.

Mr. Shapiro did not identify the basis for the investigations. Nor did he indicate whether the investigations are related to the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected over 12,000 residents of nursing and personal care homes and resulted in the deaths of over 2,600 residents (about 69% of the total COVID-19 related deaths in Pennsylvania).

These investigations are proceeding in light of Governor Wolf’s executive order of May 6, 2020, which granted immunity to licensed health care practitioners in nursing homes and other personal care homes who are providing COVID-19 related treatment and services during the pandemic. Notably, Governor Wolf’s executive order did not extend immunity to individuals engaged in criminal or willful misconduct, gross negligence, fraud or malice. It also does not apply to the facilities themselves or their owners.

For more information, nursing homes and licensed professionals may contact our Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware defense team:

Link to Press Release: