Eastern Iowa County Leading the State With Most Home Health Violations

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on June 1, 2023 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights

female in scrubs looking at notes on tabletThe Iowa County Public Health Department was reviewed by state inspectors last year, and the resulting findings put the agency in the spotlight, but not in a good way.

After state inspectors concluded their review, the Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) assessed the home health agency with 37 total violations. The first 34 violations were cited in November of last year, followed by three more in December.

The situation is bad enough that the DIA fully barred Iowa County Public Health from assessing the skills and competencies of potential home-health aide applicants. This ban is effective through November 2024 and also applies to registered nurses employed by the agency.

What Went Wrong at the Iowa County Public Health Department?

In July 2022, state inspectors say the new Iowa County health administrator met with the Iowa County Board of Health. One of the action items discussed in this meeting was the need to notify both state and federal regulators about the change in management. However, following this meeting, that notification never happened.

Following the review, state inspectors noted several other failures by the Iowa County agency, including:

  • Not conducting competency testing of aide applicants. This state-required testing is critical as it helps to determine which candidates have the necessary skills to deliver acceptable standards of care.
  • Not reviewing patient medications, as required by the state. These reviews were not conducted in three out of the seven cases examined.
  • Failure to identify patients with duplicate drug regimens
  • Failure to implement accurate patient care plans in a timely manner
  • Not updating patient care plans with new physician orders
  • Failing to administer the prescribed skin care treatment for a patient on 12 separate occasions in a four-week period.
  • Proper assessment and transfer summaries were not done for patients needing hospitalization.
  • Patients were not given the contact details of the agency’s administrator or clinical manager. This means patients had no point of contact for addressing concerns about their care.

How Do Other Iowa State Agencies Compare?

In all, 12 other state agencies have been cited for various violations. However, Iowa County has about 10 times more than the average number of violations of other state in-home health agencies. Additionally, the 37 violations assessed occurred within a six-month timeframe. The other agencies cited all received three or less violations. It is also worth mentioning that five of the 13 agencies that received citations are run by county public health departments.

Other Iowa state health agencies cited include:

  • Community Health of Algona
  • Des Moines County Health Department
  • Floyd County Health Department
  • Heights Home Health, Mapleton
  • Iowa Home Care, Ottumwa
  • Louisa County Public Health Nurses
  • Orange City Home Health
  • Pella Regional Home Health
  • Sanford Home Health & Hospice in Sheldon
  • Webster County Health

You can read the full article to see more details about these agencies and their citations. You can find additional information about all home-health agencies in Iowa by going to the CMS Care Compare website or the website for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.

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