After abuse, death and staffing issues, Iowa nursing homes added to federal watch list
Last fall, inspectors cited Parkridge Specialty Care in Pleasant Hill for a four-hour delay in assessing and treating a resident who complained of chest pain. The resident was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to a hospital emergency room. (Photo by Google Earth)
Three Iowa care facilities with a recent history of resident-care issues have been added to a list of the nation’s worst nursing homes.
The three homes join seven other Iowa care facilities already deemed eligible for inclusion on the federal government’s list of “Special-Focus Facilities” that have recurring quality-of-care problems.
The three newly added homes are:
— Parkridge Specialty Care in Pleasant Hill, which is managed by Care Initiatives of West Des Moines. The 90-bed facility has a one-star overall rating from the federal government and was fined $178,003 by the federal government in 2022. In addition, Medicare suspended payments to the home in August 2022. Last fall, state inspectors cited the home for a four-hour delay in assessing and treating a resident who complained of chest pain. The resident was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to a hospital emergency room.
— New London Specialty Care in Henry County, also managed by Care Initiatives. The 46-bed facility has a one-star overall rating from the federal government and was fined $14,508 in 2021. In November, the home was cited for 18 federal violations, including a failure to protect residents from sexual abuse.
— Rock Rapids Health Centre in Lyon County, which is managed by Arboreta Healthcare of Florida. The 44-bed facility has a one-star overall rating from the federal government and was fined $216,869 in 2021. In addition, Medicare suspended payments to the home in January 2021 and August 2020. Last November, state inspectors substantiated 10 separate complaints against the home, although no citations were issued or fines imposed. The home had four different administrators over the course of 10 months in 2022, had lost long-distance service due to a failure to pay bills, and had been so short-staffed that the head of maintenance and other non-medical staff had been asked to work as nurses’ aides.
The three nursing homes take the place of three other Iowa facilities that had previously been deemed eligible for special-focus status: Sioux City’s Touchstone Healthcare Community, which closed last summer and is no longer in operation; Dunlap Specialty Care, another Care Initiatives facility; and The Ivy at Davenport, which is managed by Summit Care Corp. of California.
The federal Special-Focus Facilities list is updated quarterly by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and includes homes deemed by CMS to have “a history of serious quality issues.”
Nationally, there are 88 nursing facilities on the list, with one or two slots filled by each state. Those homes are enrolled in a special program intended to stimulate improvements in their quality of care through increased regulatory oversight.
Because the number of Special-Focus Facilities is capped, new facilities – even those that have earned CMS’ lowest ratings for quality — can’t be named a special-focus facility until other homes in that same state improve and “graduate” from the program or close.
That’s a process that can take four years or more. As a result, there are several homes in each state that are deemed eligible for special-focus status due to ongoing quality-of-care issues, but they are unable to benefit from actual enrollment in the Special-Focus Facility program. Iowa typically has 10 facilities on the list that are considered eligible for enrollment in the program.
Until recently, the two Iowa homes currently enrolled in the Special-Focus Facilities program were owned by the same Iowa-based company, QHC Facilities. The company recently completed bankruptcy proceedings and the homes are now under new ownership. QHC Villa Fort Dodge has been a special-focus facility for 16 months, while QHC Winterset North been in the program for 25 months.
In addition to the three Iowa homes recently added to the federal list, seven other Iowa care facilities continue to be listed as “candidates” for the special-focus designation due to ongoing quality-of-care issues.
- Griswold Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, which has been a candidate for four months;
- Northern Mahaska Specialty Care in Oskaloosa, which has been a candidate for four months;
- Oakland Manor, which has been a candidate for seven months;
- Arbor Court in Mount Pleasant, which has been a candidate for 12 months;
- Aspire of Primghar, which has been a candidate for 16 months;
- Genesis Senior Living in Des Moines, which has been a candidate for eight months;
- QHC Mitchellville, which has been a candidate for 32 months.
Typically, all of the homes that are deemed eligible for special-focus designation have about twice the average number of violations cited by state inspectors; they have more serious problems than most other nursing homes, including harm or injury to residents, and they have established a pattern of serious problems that has persisted over a long period of time.
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