One of the first lessons parents teach their children is to say "I'm sorry" when their actions cause hurt or an unintended consequence. I certainly teach my children to acknowledge their mistakes, not run from them.
That is exactly what the Post-Gazette did after it made a colossal blunder last Sunday by publishing a front-page story written by an online news organization ("Western Pa. Nursing Homes Given Poor Ratings," Jan. 6) that gave readers inaccurate information about the region's skilled nursing facilities. The newspaper deserves kudos for correcting the inaccuracies quickly because it is important for readers to know that the region's skilled nursing facilities are among the best in the nation.
As both a physician and CEO of an association that advocates for the elderly and their care providers, I've seen firsthand the high quality of care that's delivered in skilled nursing facilities throughout Pennsylvania. I talk with caregivers almost daily and can assure your readers that nothing is more important to them than delivering the best quality of care and quality of life for those who can no longer live safely at home.
We are pleased that the paper made clear that Pittsburgh's nursing homes receive fewer deficiencies than the national average and they also receive fewer deficiencies than the state average -- and the state average is lower than the national average.
From a national perspective, Pennsylvania nursing facilities rank the fifth-lowest in serious deficiencies, which are deficiencies that have the potential to cause harm. That means we rank better than 45 other states.
Pennsylvanians are fortunate to have a robust continuum of long-term care options available to them, including skilled nursing facilities. If a Post-Gazette reader is looking for long-term care, the best test is to visit the facility and talk to staff, families and residents. Seeing really is believing. Information is also available at PHCA.org.
STUART H. SHAPIRO, M.D.
President and CEO
Pennsylvania Health Care Association