Four More Iowa Nursing Homes Added to Federal Special-Focus Facilities List

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on January 18, 2024 in Nursing Home Abuse

filling out information on a clipboardFour nursing home care facilities in Iowa have been designated as Special-Focus Facilities, indicating serious and ongoing quality issues. This federal list, managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), spotlights nursing homes that require increased regulatory oversight.

These four additions bring the total number of Iowa nursing homes on the Special-Focus Facilities list to 10. The other six on the list include:

  • Aspire of Gowrie
  • Dunlap Specialty Care
  • Genesis Senior Living
  • Griswold Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
  • Iowa City Rehabilitation and Health Care Center
  • New London Specialty Care

The newly added facilities include:

  • Embassy Rehab and Care Center in Sergeant Bluff: Embassy Rehab is a 60-bed facility with a one-star CMS rating. In May, state inspectors went to Embassy to investigate four complaints and cited the home for 40 state and federal violations. One violation involved a disturbing incident while a resident was taking a shower. The resident told an aide the water was too hot, so the aide made the water ice cold. The resident made a derogatory comment about the aide’s Filipino descent. After the comment, the aide allegedly put his hand over the resident’s nose and mouth and pushed the resident’s neck down. The aide did this until water went into the resident’s nose. The resident said he was not able to call out for help.
  • Harmony West Des Moines: This 120-bed facility was inspected five times this year, accruing 53 violations. Among these was a particularly distressing case involving the alleged neglect of a resident suffering from severe medical complications, which tragically led to her death. It is alleged that a resident complained about a bowel obstruction for several days. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with septic shock, gangrene, and a severe infection. Unfortunately, two surgeries did not save her life.
  • The Ivy at Davenport: This is a 75-bed facility that has received significant criticism for its care standards. The Ivy has accumulated 38 regulatory violations this year. A comprehensive 220-page report by state inspectors highlighted multiple issues including poor sanitation, medication errors, and rodent infestations. The facility also faced criticism for insufficient bedding for residents and inadequate staffing, contributing to its poor living conditions.
  • Westwood Specialty Care in Sioux City: This is an 85-bed facility with a one-star CMS rating that has been cited for 48 regulatory violations this year. Inspectors have noted several critical issues in resident care. The facility, which is part of Iowa’s largest nursing home chain, Care Initiatives, has been involved in incidents leading to hospitalizations and significant harm to residents, including a case involving an untreated foot injury. The injury resulted in an infection that had to be treated through amputation of the resident’s toes.

The Special-Focus Facilities program is a list of care facilities that is updated each month by CMS aims to address homes with:

  • Significantly higher average violations than other nursing homes.
  • Serious problems causing harm or injury to residents.
  • A long-standing pattern of serious issues.

The cap on Special-Focus Facilities (SFFs) means that only a certain number of nursing homes can be designated as SFFs at any given time. This cap is in place because each state has a limited number of slots in the program.

For a new facility to be added as an SFF, another within the state must either improve and graduate from the program or close down. This process can often take four years or more. Consequently, there are always several facilities that are eligible for SFF status but cannot be officially enrolled due to the cap. This situation affects states like Iowa, which typically has about 10 nursing homes on the SFF eligibility list.

The listing of these facilities highlights a critical need for improved care standards and regulatory oversight in Iowa’s healthcare system.

Contact PKSD to Discuss Legal Action Over Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

At PKSD, our commitment to victims of nursing home abuse is unwavering. With decades of experience, our legal team focuses on securing justice and compensation for the abused and neglected.

If you suspect abuse or have experienced it, we are here to help. Offering free consultations, we provide a supportive, no-cost starting point to explore your legal options. Let us stand by you in this difficult time, helping you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve, all without any upfront costs.

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