Appeal in case of Patients of Philadelphia State Hospital v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, and the Secretary of Public Welfare.
Judy Greenwood, for petitioners.
John A. Kane, Assistant Attorney General, for respondents.
Judges Blatt, DiSalle and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish and Judges Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Craig, MacPhail and Williams, Jr. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate. Judge Mencer dissents. Judge Williams, Jr. concurs in result only. Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 128]
This case comes before us by way of a petition for review of a refusal by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to grant petitioners, who are patients in the Philadelphia State Hospital (Hospital), access to an evaluation of the Hospital compiled by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH). After initial argument of the case to a panel of this court, we ordered reargument before the court en banc.
Because there were no official proceedings below and the entire record consists of two letters (a request
[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 129]
for the report and a denial thereof), we set forth as facts only those matters upon which the briefs of the parties are in agreement.
The Hospital is a state-operated facility providing care to the psychiatrically ill as part of the Commonwealth's mental health service system. It is supported by a combination of federal and state monies. The federal share of the Hospital's expenses consists of monies received pursuant to Title XVIII (Medicare) and Title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1395, 1396 et seq. One of the conditions for participation under either program is that a facility must be "accredited" by the JCAH. See 42 U.S.C. § 1395x(f).
JCAH is a private, non-profit organization which prescribes standards for participation by providers of health services. It conducts annual or biennial evaluations of each participating provider to verify its compliance with the JCAH standards. When a provider is determined not to be in compliance with these standards, accreditation is refused; alternatively, if a provider is currently accredited and is determined to be out of compliance, its accreditation is revoked.
Pursuant to Section 9 of the Act (Law) of May 25, 1921, P.L. 1144, as amended, 71 P.S. § 1469, DPW licenses institutions, regulates their inspection and approves the adequacy of the hospital wards maintained for the care of the mentally ill. Section 13(1) of the Law, 71 P.S. § 1473(1). The Secretary of DPW is affirmatively obligated to annually inspect or cause to be inspected all state institutions subject to his supervision and to report his findings to DPW. Section 12 of the Law, 71 P.S. § 1472. The Mental Health Procedures Act (MHPA), ...