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BEVERLY ENTERPRISES AND ITS INSURANCE CARRIERS VIOLATE WORKERS' COMP LAW, UNION SAYS; STATE ASKED TO INVESTIGATE CHARGES OF ABUSE

 HARRISBURG, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's largest for-profit nursing home chain and its workers' compensation insurance carriers were charged today by the union representing their workers with widespread and consistent violations of Pennsylvania's workers' compensation law.
 John August, president of District 1199P of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), stated at a Capitol Hill news conference today that Beverly Enterprises and its compensation carriers are being charged with engaging in "a pattern of abuse, delay and denial" by contesting legitimate claims for lost wages and medical payments, delaying lost wage and medical payments, misleading workers about their rights, and attempting to influence decisions made by the injured workers' physicians in order to deny payments to workers.
 The union filed a complaint with the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation that provides evidence from workers in two Beverly facilities, Carpenter Care Center in Tunkhannock and Richland Manor in Johnstown. The union has also compiled additional information supporting the complaint from other Beverly Enterprises employees.
 "In October of 1991, I slipped while pushing a 300-pound laundry cart," said Barbara Graffius, a part-time laundry worker at Richland Manor. "About a month later I hurt my back again. Both of my claims for workers' compensation have been denied by Beverly."
 August said that, due to short staffing, nursing home workers have injury rates twice as high as workers in any other industry; and workers' compensation claims for these workers cost Pennsylvania as much as $100 million annually.
 "My injuries would never have occurred if there was proper staffing at my nursing home," said Donna Hollister, a certified nurses' aide at Carpenter Care Center. "My life would not have been uprooted and all of my plans for my family and myself would not have been destroyed."
 House Majority Policy Chairman Mike Veon (D-Beaver Falls) called for reform of Pennsylvania's workers' compensation law, and decried the short-staffed conditions in Pennsylvania's nursing homes. "It is tragedy enough that injury-causing conditions continue to exist in many nursing homes throughout the state," he said. "But for employers to compound their lack of compassion by trying to deny workers proper medical help and payment for that medical care is utterly reprehensible."
 State AFL-CIO President Bill George said he supports the complaint because workers' compensation reform is high on the union legislative agenda and the evidence against Beverly Enterprises and its compensation carrier is overwhelming.
 August said the union is seeking remedies from the state agency, including an investigation into the allegations in the complaint, consideration of fines against Beverly Enterprises and its compensation carriers, and awards to employees who have been denied their rights.
 SEIU's three Pennsylvania locals, District 1199P, 668 and 585, represent more than 5,000 nursing home workers in Pennsylvania, among them employees of 18 Beverly Enterprises facilities. More than 400,000 of the union's million-plus members are health care workers, making it the nation's single largest health care union.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/14/93
 /CONTACT: Susan Reider of the SEIU, 717-232-4160/


CO: Beverly Enterprises; Service Employees International Union ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

MJ-MK -- PH018 -- 4878 01/14/93 12:30 EST
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Date:Jan 14, 1993
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