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Advocates say proposed updated regulations for nursing homes would increase transparency

Matt Rourke

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

New nursing home regulations aim to hold facility owners accountable
(0:00 - 7:05)

Pennsylvania has more than 600 nursing homes, and they came under intense scrutiny, especially during the first several months of the pandemic.

Last fall the state Department of Health began proposing new regulations for skilled nursing facilities, which would be the most widespread changes in about 25 years. They include more assessment of homes’ prospective owners, which were unveiled in March.

Start your morning with today's news on Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

“The regulations, first of all, will look at a broader range of individuals: both individuals who are going to participate in the profits, but also individuals who own the land or the buildings, since corporate structures have become so complicated,” says says Pam Walz, a supervising lawyer who specializes in issues involving the elderly at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

“In addition, it's going to look much more carefully at the licensing and regulatory history of these facilities and a range of other issues.”

Additionally, the regulations would require nursing homes increase the hours of combined care for residents from 2.7 hours per day to 4.1 hours per day.

These changes are being considered by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, which means no legislation is required if these changes are to be approved.

The Anti-Defamation League has tracked an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Western Pennsylvania
(7:08 - 14:14)

Last week police received reports of anti-Semitic flyers being found in neighborhoods in Mt. Lebanon. This came as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was releasing a report on such hateful incidents for 2021.

The ADL defines an anti-Semitic incident as any incident of assault, harassment and vandalism where the individuals or group of people are being targeted for being Jewish.

The ADL recorded 20 antisemitic instances in Western Pennsylvania last year, an increase from 11 the previous year. Across the state, there were 638 incidents total.

“The regional trends matched the national trends of the highest levels of anti-Semitic incidents of assaults, harassment and vandalism that we have seen since the ADL began tracking these statistics in 1979,” says James Pasch, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, covering Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.

“We are concerned that with this dramatic increase of anti-Semitic incidents, that it is also coinciding with similar increases of reported incidents of hate crimes against Black Americans, LGBTQ Americans, Asian Americans and Muslim Americans. It should serve as a warning to all of us that our societal norms are fraying.”

Pasch says the motivation behind these crimes is unclear, but the rise should be of concern to all.

‘The No Club’ book describes how women are asked, and expected, to take on extra work, more often than men, but the inequity can be corrected
(14:18 - 22:30)

We’re well aware the gender pay gap exists, and becomes an even wider gap between men and women of color. But a new book details research on how even the type of work women take on can end up harming their careers.

“The No Club: Putting a Stop To Women’s Dead-End Work” examines how so-called, “non-promotable tasks” can suck up women’s time, resources, and ability to advance their careers.

Co-author Linda Babcock defines non-promotable tasks, or NPT’s as “work that is important to your organization but doesn't reward the person who does them.”

Babcock is a professor of Economics and Chair of the Social and Decision Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

She co-authored the book along with Brenda Peyser, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart. The four will be speaking at a Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures event tomorrow evening.

Babcock and her coauthors originally formed an “I Just Can’t Say ‘No’ Club” when they found themselves, all university professors, overwhelmed by the work of serving on committees or special projects, instead of their main priorities, research and teaching.

“If you have too many non-promotable tasks, it will make you less productive than your colleagues who are focusing on their promotable work,” says Babcock. “You can suffer, then, from work overload if you're just getting these NPTs dumped on your plates. Maybe you have to start working extra hours so that your promotable work doesn't suffer.”

Eventually, the group also began to research why women are often saddled with non-promotable tasks, and how companies and organizations can break that trend. Babcock says one organizational change is to stop asking for volunteers to conduct non-promotable tasks, but perhaps assign the job by rotation, or randomly draw names for a participant.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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