Bankrupt nursing home faces new fines for staffing, vermin and injuries
(Photo by Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals)
One of the Iowa nursing homes managed by the bankrupt chain QHC Facilities is facing $4,750 in fines for insufficient staffing, a vermin infestation and injuries sustained by a resident.
According to state reports, inspectors visited QHC Humboldt North in north-central Iowa in January and cited the owners for eight federal regulatory violations and one state regulatory violation.
According to an inspector’s report, a certified nursing assistant told inspectors she and another CNA were preparing to use a mechanical lift to transfer a male resident from his bed to his wheelchair. She told the inspector she informed the other CNA she was uncomfortable with the manner in which the device was set up, at which point the other aide cursed at her and proceeded with the transfer. The mechanical lift then tipped to one side and struck the resident in the forehead and one eye, causing him to scream “really loud and he began bleeding really bad.” The CNA who spoke to inspectors said she told her colleague they needed to get help, prompting the other CNA to respond, “The f— we do. We just need to clean him up.”
Inspectors also cited the home for a “thick brown substance” on some of the floors and appliances, with one staffer remarking the facility was “not clean at all.”
They also cited the home for the presence of vermin, noting a large amount of dead bugs and worms at the end of one hall, insects in resident bathrooms and a large spider that was seen by the staff in one resident’s dresser.
Also, workers confirmed the facility was so short-staffed, call lights weren’t being answered in a timely fashion and one resident was left to sit on the toilet for an hour and 15 minutes.
In December, QHC Facilities filed for bankruptcy, claiming $1 million in assets and $26.3 million in liabilities. The company, based in Clive, operates eight skilled nursing facilities in Tama, Madison, Humboldt, Jackson, Linn, Webster and Polk counties, as well as two assisted living centers.
In recent years, QHC and its affiliates have been hit with some of the largest federal fines ever imposed against an Iowa nursing home chain, with inspectors stating the company placed residents in immediate jeopardy due to substandard care. At the same time, however, the company has sued its elderly residents for failure to pay for that care, and has not paid more than $700,000 in fines.
Other Iowa care facilities recently cited by the state for violations include:
Grandview Healthcare Center, Oelwein – The facility was fined $5,500 last week for medication errors. A licensed practical nurse at the home allegedly gave one resident of the facility another resident’s medication, including three diuretics and a medication that lowers blood pressure. The resident who received the medications in error had a history of hypotension, or low blood pressure, and was supposed to be receiving medication to raise her blood pressure. After the mistake was caught, the woman required intravenous fluids to counteract the “significantly dangerous side effects” of the drugs that were given to her in error. About a week earlier, the same nurse allegedly made other errors and failed to check blood sugars or insulin for a half-dozen residents. One of the nurse’s co-workers reportedly told the director of nursing she didn’t feel it was “safe” to have the nurse working there.
Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, Urbandale – Earlier this month, the facility was fined $500 for failing to perform the required background checks on employees. The home was also cited, but not fined, for violations related to physical exams and screening of personnel, resident discharges, resident records, drug storage, resident service plans and tuberculosis screening. Also, inspectors reviewed the personnel files of five workers and found that none of the five had received the required training to work in a memory-care facility.
Handicapped Development Center, Davenport – In January, the facility was fined $4,000, in part for failing to ensure facility staffing requirements were met. The fine was later reduced to $2,600. State inspectors reviewed the files of 17 residents and found that none of the 17 residents’ physician orders had been reviewed and updated within the past 90 days as required. All 17 last had their physician orders updated on the same day, in July 2021. It was later determined that none of the 57 residents of the center had current, valid physician orders in place.
The facility also was cited for failing to maintain and keep clean a resident’s room that was “permeated” by a strong smell of urine and was visibly soiled. The facility also was cited for failing to report to the state suspected resident abuse related to a resident’s claim that a worker had dragged him across the floor. The resident had what appeared to be a “huge,” serious abrasion on his back that resembled a carpet burn. According to the staff, the resident told three employees about being injured by a worker, but later recanted that statement and said the injuries were self-inflicted. The center was cited for failing to adequately investigate the matter.
Glenwood Resource Center, Glenwood – In January, the state-owned facility was cited for failing to report potential resident abuse to the state inspectors at the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. In August, a residential treatment worker told the home’s quality assurance coordinator that a colleague “had got in (a resident’s) face a couple of times.” The worker alleged used a threatening tone while standing over the resident and later threw a blanket over the resident’s head and said in a raised voice, “This is where you need to be, now stop and do what I say.”
The home was cited for four state regulatory violations and fined $2,250. The fines were later reduced to $1,787. Glenwoood told DIA the home would provide additional training for the accused worker.
Premier Estates, Toledo — In January, the federal government fined the home $19,400 for an alleged medication error that resulted in a resident being life-flighted to a hospital and placed on a respirator. A nurse had inadvertently given the resident seven drugs intended for another individual, as well as the resident’s own prescribed drugs. The resident later recovered.
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