Five Iowa Nursing Homes Added to Nation’s List of Worst LTC Facilities

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on August 2, 2023 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights

five Iowa nursing homes added to nations SFF listMultiple nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have been ranked among the worst nationwide in the past couple of years. The latest five Iowa care facilities to be added to this list include Aspire of Gowrie, Countryside Health Care Center, Iowa City Rehab & Health Care, Embassy Rehab and Care Center of Sergeant Bluff.

The Latest Five Worst-Ranked Iowa Nursing Homes and How They Got There

These most recent Iowa facilities now rated and ranked among the nation’s worst for long-term care include:

Aspire of Gowrie

A one-star-rated 46-bed facility under administrator Rachael Marshall, Aspire of Gowrie has been issued 27 citations for state and federal violations just in the past year.

One of the incidents this facility was cited for resulted in a staff member mistakenly putting fingernail glue into a resident’s eye.

This facility is owned by Bruce Wertheim under an LLC called Blackhawk Healthcare. Fines since June 2021 total over $154,000.

Countryside Health Care Center of Sioux City

The administrator of this one-star-rated 101-bed facility is Jackie Loghry Pirner. The violations at this home involved four resident deaths. Countryside was issued citations for 39 state and federal violations. State inspectors investigated the facility last April – at the time there were 19 backlogged complaints. The facility, owned by LLC 6120 Morningside Avenue Propco, is closing.

Dunlop Specialty Care Center

Inspectors cited the home with 17 violations, and CMS has issued over $263,000 in fines since November 2020. Dunlap is a 57-bed facility is also a one-star ranked facility and has two stars, out of a possible five, for staffing levels.

Iowa City Rehab & Health Care

This facility has 89 beds and received a one-star rating from CMS for staffing levels and inspection results. Inspectors uncovered 21 federal violations following an investigation last May.

Embassy Rehab and Care Center of Sergeant Bluff

This 60-bed facility managed by administrator Billijean Moerman was investigated last May after the state received four complaints. State inspectors substantiated all four complaints during their investigation, which resulted in 40 citations being issued to the facility (both state and federal). Even for poor-ranking facilities, this is an atypically high number of violations.

One of the violations resulted from this incident:

An aide reacted to a resident who said the shower water was too hot by making it ice cold. The resident made an offensive statement to the aide. What allegedly followed was an incident where the aide forcefully covered the resident’s mouth and nose with his hand and pressed the resident’s neck down, allowing the shower stream to go up the resident’s nose.

The facility, owned by an LLC operating under the name Kismet Sux, has been fined twice by CMS in the last couple of years. These fines totaled well over $93,000.

Other Iowa Nursing Homes Ranked Among Worst in Recent Years

According to a news article, these facilities are just the latest in a long line of Iowa facilities considered eligible for inclusion on the federal special-focus facilities (SFF) list. Previously-added Iowa facilities added to the special-focus waiting list in the last two years include:

  • Cedar Falls Health Care Center: Waiting on the SFF eligibility list for five months
  • New London Specialty Care: An SFF-eligible facility for seven months
  • Griswold Rehabilitation & Health Care Center: Has been on the SFF list now for 10 months
  • Northern Mahaska Specialty Care of Oskaloosa: Also an SFF-eligible facility for 10 months
  • Genesis Senior Living of Des Moines: Has spent 14 months waiting on the SFF-eligible list

In addition to these facilities that have been added to the SFF-eligible list, there are two other Iowa care facilities that graduated from being eligible for the list to actually being designated as a special-focus facility.

What Happens When a Nursing Home Becomes a Designated Special-Focus Facility?

To be clear, being designated as an SFF is not a distinction a facility should be seeking. Once added to the list, these facilities face additional scrutiny from federal regulators.

At PKSD, we have previously touched on some of the reasons facilities end up on the special focus list. For instance, SFF-eligible facilities often have more serious violations and about twice the number of average deficiencies as other nursing homes nationwide.

It may, however, also be helpful to provide a high-level explanation about the special focus facility program and what happens to facilities once they are designated to that list.

SFF-designated facilities must:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive plan for addressing deficiencies and improving the overall quality of care for its residents
  • Submit to more frequent inspections than other facilities
  • Be able to show during monitored visits and additional inspections how they are making progress toward meeting the standards and goals set in their comprehensive improvement plan
  • Achieve proven and significant progress of goals within the time period set by CMS
  • Failure to achieve goals or significant progress may result in serious consequences for the facility, including terminating the facility from participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
  • All SFF-designated facilities are made available to the public to aid families and residents to make more informed decisions about choosing a long-term care facility.

Additionally, in October 2022, CMS released a statement about a stronger Special Focus Facility program, including revisions like:

  • Tougher success requirements
  • Terminating federal funding for facilities that do not improve
  • Increasing enforcement actions
  • Incentivizing sustainable improvements

Has Your Loved One Been Injured Due to Nursing Home Negligence? Call Us for Legal Help Today

At PKSD, we are deeply committed to protecting vulnerable residents in nursing homes throughout Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and New Mexico.

Not sure if you have a case? We offer a completely free, no-risk initial consultation to discuss your situation. Our Wisconsin-based nursing home lawyers are ready to help and have extensive and proven success.

If you have a case and choose to hire our firm, you can do so with no out-of-pocket costs. Since we only accept nursing home injury cases on contingency, we only get paid if you do.

Contact our law offices to learn more. We have staff available to take your call 24/7.

PSKD. Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. 877-877-2228

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