Nurse Told to Falsify Patient Records at Iowa Care Facility
A nurse who formerly worked at a Sioux City care facility testified that she resigned from her position after being asked to falsify patient records. According to her testimony at a recent hearing, management at the facility asked Teresa A. Hansen to train unqualified workers to administer daily medication to residents. She was then told to sign off on the chart as though she had administered the drugs herself.
Hansen objected to this request but was told in response that she should not question management. According to a news report, Hansen said she immediately resigned from her post, testifying that to follow this request would not only jeopardize her nursing license, but it was also illegal to do so.
Although the facility, Countryside Health Care Center, could have had a representative testify at Hansen’s ALJ hearing for unemployment benefits, they chose not to. ALJ Patrick B. Thomas ruled Hansen was credible and that her resignation was for good cause. As a result of the hearing, Hansen was awarded benefits.
Staffing Cuts at Countryside Led to Illegal Request
As part of her testimony at the September 13 hearing, Hansen shared that work became extremely difficult to manage after many employees were cut from the schedule. Countryside is a 52-bed facility, and the number of remaining employees was not nearly enough to properly care for the residents.
Countryside Management Tried to Replace RNs With CNAs
According to a news report, Hansen testified at a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge to recover benefits after leaving her post. Her testimony included how management tried to have CNAs take over some RN tasks at the facility. However, these tasks were beyond the scope of what CNAs are qualified to do, such as administering medications to patients.
Countryside Violations and Deaths Led to Multiple Citations
Just seven months leading up to the facility’s closure in late July, Countryside was cited for several incidents and violations, including:
- An incident involving a female resident – the woman was found unresponsive, lying on the floor of her room. Although she was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, she died en route. The violation and subsequent citation were because the facility failed to provide adequate supervision and care of this woman. They also failed to report the incident to the state, as required.
- A resident fell and died – the facility never informed the state, as is required.
- In a third resident, the facility was cited for failing to adequately provide treatment to a resident with foul-smelling, open wounds on her legs. This resident was eventually hospitalized, but she also died, just a week later.
State inspectors assessed the facility with five state and twenty federal violations. The state proposed an assessment of $44,000 in fines. However, these fines were suspended to provide the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) time to consider penalties.
According to CMS, Countryside was assessed with federal fines 14 times during a three-year period before closing its doors for good in July.
Countryside Health Care Center was owned by 6120 Morningside Avenue Propco, a New York-area real estate company. Operations were managed by Opco Sioux City, but this for-profit corporation was tied to Isaac Dole. Dole is the CEO of Birchwood Healthcare Partners, an investment firm. Dole previously worked as the managing director of acquisitions at Aviv REIT. Aviv is one of the largest nursing home real estate owners in the country.
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