Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation shuts down due to emergency staffing shortage

JEFFERSON HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) — A care home in Jefferson Hills closed after it was forced to shut down due to an unexpected staffing shortage. 

Many Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center employees walked off the job last week after delayed paychecks or none at all. They told KDKA-TV that paychecks have been delayed three times since the start of the new year and employees still haven’t been paid for the scheduled Feb. 23 payday.

“A lot of us have shut off notices and overdrawn bank accounts,” former employee Jenna Smith said. 

Due to the facility’s critically low staffing, the center was forced to shut down and move all of its residents to other area homes without more than an hour’s notice.

By Saturday morning, employees said the windows were boarded up and the patients were gone.

Meanwhile, KDKA-TV’s cameras caught company vans hauling away furniture from the center on Monday.

“They were crying, they were very distraught,” former employee Patricia Becher said. “It’s like you’re ripped from your home. Some of them have been there for 10-plus years.” 

Bonamour Health Group, the company that owns the center, released a statement blaming a cyberattack on Feb. 21 for cash-flow challenges that resulted in the employee’s missed payroll cycle. The statement said, in part:

“With the challenges created from the above-mentioned circumstances, combined with the cyber-attack occurring on 2/21/2024 impacting the ability to maintain staffing levels at Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, the decision was made to temporarily close the facility effectively 3/1/2024 to give the sister facilities a chance to succeed.” 

KDKA-TV went to the center on Monday to try to find out when the employees would be paid their back wages but was ordered off the property by management. 


Jefferson Hills nursing home closes suddenly

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Barbara Hillgartner, whose 84-year-old mother was at the center, said she learned of the news when she went to visit her on Saturday and found an empty parking lot.

“It was creeping going to the nursing home,” she said. “Because lights were still on, TVs were still on. There were food trays still in rooms. Like ‘The Twilight Zone,’ everybody disappeared in a blink of an eye.”

She went to her mom’s room and found nothing. 

“There was a garbage bag by her closet,” Hillgartner said. “Somebody must have taken everything that was in her closet and put it in a garbage bag.”

Hillgartner later learned her mom was transferred to the John J. Kane Regional Center in McKeesport. A county spokesperson said that Kane Community Living Centers staff worked extra hours on Friday to help transfer 35 patients to McKeesport and another facility in Ross Township.

Hillgartner is livid with how the situation has been handled. 

“I’m concerned, what kind of care were you giving my mom? Were you feeding her correctly?” she said. 

It’s unclear if or when the care home will reopen. 

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