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“Crippling” Staffing Shortages Force Iowa Nursing Home Operator Into Bankruptcy


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A chain of nursing homes in Iowa has been forced into bankruptcy due to dire staffing shortages.

QHC Facilities, based in Clive, operates skilled nursing facilities in Tama, Madison, Humboldt, Jackson, Linn, Webster, and Polk counties.

The combined facilities provided care for over 700 residents and employed around 300 full-time and part-time employees.

But on the brink of collapse, QHC filed for bankruptcy last week. The company claimed $1 million in assets and $26.3 million in liabilities.

Zero Hedge reported:

Court documents reflect how the company, QHC Facilities LLC, which hosts a total of 750 beds across its 8 nursing homes and two assisted living facilities, has been devastated by the twin pressures of COVID deaths among its patients (many of whom fall into the most susceptible category of patient), and resignations en masse among its workers. One of its homes even made it on to a list of “America’s worst nursing homes”.

QHC Facilities LLC filed for bankruptcy last week, citing “crippling staffing and employee retention issues” in a court filing. The Clive, Iowa-based company operates eight skilled nursing facilities and two assisted living homes with a total of about 750 beds in the state and 300 workers.

Occupancy rates plunged as Covid-19 spread through nursing homes, which accounted for a large proportion of deaths early in the pandemic. At the same time, the health-care sector has suffered from mass resignations as workers face burnout and seek more lucrative employment, contributing to swelling gaps in coverage.

Fortunately for the state’s health-care system, a judge back in November blocked a federal vaccine mandate for health-care workers in Iowa and eight other states. Clearly, that was a prescient decision.

Iowa Capital Dispatch described QHC’s financial and staffing catastrophe:

QHC has faced numerous significant federal fines in recent years — some of which appear to remain unpaid — due to ongoing quality-of-care issues.

Last year, federal officials fined the QHC’s Fort Dodge Villa more than $685,000 – one of the biggest fines ever levied against an Iowa care facility — after a state inspection uncovered numerous, serious deficiencies in resident care.

As of December, the home was still not in compliance with minimum standards, and so the fines against the facility were continuing to accrue at the rate of $330 per day.

All told, QHC allegedly owes $703,377 in past-due federal fines tied to violations at its care facilities, according to state data. Combined with the daily fines at Fort Dodge, the company could wind up owing taxpayers $1.4 million in federal fines.

Last month, the Iowa Capital Dispatch asked QHC about the unpaid fines. After 11 days, the company said it was “still researching” the status of six fines that total $536,835. The company said it was working toward payment of two fines totaling more than $100,000 and said that it had paid in full one fine of $39,858.

One QHC facility, the Mitchell Village Care Center, also known as QHC Mitchellville, has at times been staffed by only one low-level nurse aide to look after 40 or more residents, according to state reports.

The director of nursing allegedly told state inspectors last year that the home was “falling apart” with “bed-ridden, weakened residents with no one to help them.” The inspectors watched as staffers made their rounds and failed to sanitize equipment or don the protective gowns intended to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

A nurse aide told inspectors she was never told where to locate personal protective equipment or how to use it, and said “everything in the facility is a mess.” A registered nurse described the situation for inspectors as a “free-for-all, with no leadership from management.”

The struggles of this nursing home chain illustrate the vulnerability of our healthcare systems and nursing-home facilities.

QHC filed for bankruptcy despite a judge blocking the federal COVID-19 jab mandate for Iowa healthcare workers.

Yet, states like New York want to mandate COVID-19 boosters and cripple the short-staffed healthcare industry even further.



 

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