Damaged nursing home with leaking roof, saturated walls and inadequate staff is fined $500

Bishop Drumm in Johnston is cited for 18 regulatory violations

By: - July 21, 2023 4:32 pm

Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston has been cited by the state for an unrepaired roof and longstanding structural issues that have reportedly left rainwater leaking into the building over the past two years. (Photo via Google Earth)

A central Iowa care facility has been cited by the state for an unrepaired roof and longstanding structural issues that have reportedly left rainwater leaking into the building over the past two years.

Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston was recently cited by the state for 18 state and federal health care violations. The Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing fined the home a total of $500.

State inspectors visited the 110-resident facility in June and reported that the facility’s roof had not been fixed since it was damaged in the derecho of August 2020. The air vents, ceiling tiles, fire sprinklers, duct work and cupboards in hallways and inside resident rooms were marked by “a black substance,” the inspectors reported. Ceiling tiles in the dining room were wet with rain from days before, and in the activities room, buckets had been deployed to capture rainwater for the past two years, and the ceiling above the nurses’ station was bowed.

“A strong, musty, damp odor was smelled throughout the facility,” inspectors reported. “Dried water marks were identified throughout the facility walls.”

According to inspectors, the facility’s own records indicated the walls of the care facility were 100% saturated with water, with wood wall joists “sitting in water” along with wet insulation. The inspectors observed a black substance on the ceiling in one room and on duct work in another, and noted that each of the two rooms housed two residents.

When asked about the state of the building, the home’s administrator allegedly told inspectors the air quality in the home was good and the structure was “just fine.”

However, the facility’s maintenance manager reported he had been working on bids to repair the 43-year-old roof for all of the two years he had been employed there. The facility had received “multiple bids” to have the work performed, inspectors said, but hadn’t contracted with anyone. In addition, inspectors said, emails showed the maintenance manager had informed the administrator that the building was in very poor condition and that a contractor needed to be hired to address the structural damage.

Bishop Drumm’s activities director allegedly told inspectors that at one point she had asked the maintenance staff who was going to fix the problems and was told that no one was going to do it. When one walked across the activities room, she told inspectors, the floor was so wet it would “squish” underfoot.

In addition to the structural issues, Bishop Drumm was cited for insufficient nursing staff, failure to develop comprehensive care plans for residents, failure to deliver the minimum quality of care, failure to keep the home free of accident hazards, failure to provide food that is palatable and at the appropriate temperature, inadequate infection control and several other violations.

One resident complained that after she returned to the home from a hospital stay in January, an aide told her that she was at Bishop Drumm to die and needed to “get the job done.” In speaking to inspectors, the director of nursing reported the aide admitted telling the woman that if she tried to lie down, she shouldn’t expect any help getting back up. Another resident tearfully told inspectors that a worker made her feel like a burden and said she was afraid to complain for fear of retaliation.

With regard to the citation for insufficient staff, residents reported their call lights went unanswered for 90 minutes to two hours. Inspectors reported the facility’s director of nursing told them the home does not create or maintain electronic reports that document the length of time call lights remain unanswered.

The home was also cited for 90-degree temperatures in one of the dining rooms, with the staff explaining the air conditioner had been broken since the summer of 2022.

No fines were imposed for the violations related to insufficient staff or the structural issues. The $500 fine is tied to the home’s failure to report to the state a major injury sustained by a resident. A resident of the home had fallen out of her wheelchair while being transported back to the care facility after a dialysis appointment and had sustained a broken leg.

Bishop Drumm’s administrator, Adam Braden, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The home is operated by CHI Living Communities, an Ohio nonprofit that runs care facilities in seven states and generated $69 million in revenue last year. The organization is the senior living division of CommonSpirit Health, the largest Catholic health care system in the United States.

Tax records show CHI’s president, Prentice Lipsey, was paid $256,414 in 2022, and CommonSpirit’s president, Marvin O’Quinn, collected roughly $7 million in compensation from CommonSpirit and related organizations. Calls and emails to CHI and CommonSpirit were not returned on Friday.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.