Judge slashes nursing home's $1 million fire escape penalty by $974,000

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An administrative law judge has reduced a $1 million fine against Philadelphia's Springs at Watermark to just over $26,000, deciding the nursing home took appropriate preventive measures within three days of a patient escape.

The news came just after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the original fine was the sixth-largest given to a U.S. nursing home in the last three years, according to Nursing Home Compare.

The fine was meted out following the injury of an 87-year-old resident who escaped through a fire escape in September 2016. The resident was found lying injured in the street and then hospitalized.

According to a February state health inspection reviewed by the Inquirer, there was no evidence that “additional interventions were implemented or that the care plan was updated” after the incident.

But the administrative law judge ruled that Watermark was out of compliance for just three days, trimming the penalty to $8,791 per day, for a total of $26,373.