Fort Dodge, Iowa nursing home joins list of the nation’s worst care facilities

nursing home shortage
Posted at 1:49 PM, Mar 13, 2022

DES MOINES, Iowa (Iowa Capital Dispatch) — An Iowa nursing home that has filed for bankruptcy, been cited for contributing to the death of a resident and fined more than $685,000 is now listed among the nation’s 88 worst care facilities.

The QHC Fort Dodge Villa in Webster County has been added to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Special-Focus Facility List, which is a national list of care facilities with some of the worst records of regulatory compliance.

The home had already been deemed eligible for special-focus status due to a long history of serious care issues. With the facility now on the list, it joins other care facilities around the nation that are enrolled in a special program intended to stimulate improvements in their quality of care through increased regulatory oversight.

The Fort Dodge home, which has about 75 residents, has the lowest possible overall rating from CMS, which evaluates care facilities’ performance based on inspectors’ findings, staffing levels and quality of care.

It is one of two Special-Focus Facilities in Iowa that are on the list and now subject to increased oversight, and both are run by QHC Management of Clive. The company allegedly owes taxpayers more than $1 million in unpaid fines.

QHC and each of the facilities that it operates have filed for bankruptcy. The owners are actively pursuing a sale of the chain, which consists of eight nursing homes and two assisted living facilities that provide care for up to 700 Iowans.

Typically, homes that are eligible for special-focus designation have about twice the average number of violations cited by state inspectors; they have more serious problems than most other nursing homes, including harm or injury to residents, and they have established a pattern of serious problems that has persisted over a long period of time.

The Special-Focus Facility List is updated quarterly by CMS and includes homes deemed by CMS to have “a history of serious quality issues.”

While 10 Iowa homes are on the list as “candidates” deemed eligible for that sort of assistance, they are not actually enrolled in the program or receiving the assistance. That’s because the number of facilities on the list remains relatively constant. New facilities can’t be named a special-focus facility, regardless of how poor their care is, until other homes in that same state improve and “graduate” from the list – a process that can take four years or more.

Nationally, there are normally about 88 nursing facilities on the list, with one or two slots filled by each state. In addition to the Fort Dodge home, QHC Winterset North is on the list and has been there for 15 months.

According to CMS, the Winterset home remains on the list because it has not yet shown any improvement. A third QHC home in Mitchellville is on the list of homes that are eligible for special-focus status due to its history of care issues.

In addition to the Mitchellville home, the other Iowa facilities currently deemed eligible for special-focus status are Arbor Court of Mount Pleasant; Aspire of Muscatine; Aspire of Primghar; Big Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Community of Polk City; Fleur Heights Center of Des Moines; The Ivy of Davenport; Northern Mahaska Specialty Care of Oskaloosa; Rock Rapids Health Centre of Rock Rapids; and Westwood Specialty Care of Sioux City.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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