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Touchstone Healthcare Community

Attorneys Fighting for Injured Victims at Touchstone Healthcare Community

Throughout the year, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) identify nursing homes that are providing the lowest quality of care to its residents. If the facility is providing residents care that causes harm or could cause harm, CMS can designate the Home as a Special Focus Facility, and issue penalties and warnings. Every SFF is given the opportunity to develop better policies and train their staff at providing a higher level of care.

These nursing homes are given months and sometimes years to improve their status in the Medicare system. If they are unable to obtain better ratings, they are often forced to terminate their contract with the federal agency to provide care to Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Currently, Touchstone Healthcare Community has been designated a Special Focus Facility due to its low rating and substandard performance in assisting their residents with medical and hygiene care, ensuring a safe environment and providing assistance with daily living.

Touchstone Healthcare Community (SFF)

This 125-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating nursing facility provides cares and services the residents of Sioux City and Woodbury County, Iowa. The facility is located at:

1800 Indian Hills Dr.
Sioux City, IA 51104
(712) 239-4582

This for-profit facility provides long-term and short-term care, hospice care, dementia care, respiratory and ventilator care, post-hospital care, joint and orthopedic care, wound care, neurological and stroke care, and respite care. Other services include:

  • Bariatric care
  • Pain management
  • IV therapy
  • Ostomy care
  • Home health
  • Complex disease management
  • Tube feeding
  • Wound VAC therapy
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapies
  • Psychology/psychiatric services
  • PICC line

More Than $66,000 in Monetary Penalties

Every nursing facility in the U.S. that violates nursing home regulations that causes harm or could have caused harm to a resident can face issued penalties and monetary fines. Touchstone Healthcare Community received a $9620 fine on December 29, 2014, a $26,542 fine on September 11, 2015, and a $34,348 fine on December 14, 2016.

Current Nursing Home Resident Safety Care

The federal government and state of Iowa use a star rating summary system when evaluating nursing facilities. Many families use this information as an effective tool to determine where to place a loved one who requires the highest level of care. Currently, Touchstone Healthcare Community (SFF) maintains a ‘much below average’ one out of five-star rating in the ranking system compared to all other facilities in the United States. This rating system includes one out of five stars for health inspections, three out of five stars for staffing, and three out of five stars for quality measures.

Some of the problems that the federal agency managing Medicare and Medicaid are concerned about concerning the level of care provided by Touchstone Healthcare Community include:

  • Failure to Develop, Implement and Enforce Policies That Prevent Abuse, Neglect or Mistreatment of Residents

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated August 15, 2017, the state surveyors noted the facility’s failure “to obtain timely criminal and abuse background checks prior to a hire.” There was also a failure to “secure an evaluation by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to determine whether or not the individual could work at the facility prior” to being hired. The concern by the surveyor “was identified for [two] employee records selected for review.”

The surveyor reviewed the personnel file of the Certified Nursing Aide at the facility “identified with a hire date of May 10, 2017. The file contained a document titled: Single Contact License & Background Check (SING), dated May 3, 2017, which identified the need for further research on criminal history.” A review of “a document titled: Liable Record Check Request Form dated May 8, 2017, revealed a criminal offense. The file lacked the required clearance from the Department of Human Service (DHS) to work at the facility.”

  • Failure to Provide Appropriate Care That Maintains Every Resident’s Dignity and Respect of Individuality

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated August 15, 2017, a surveyor noted that the facility “failed to treat and care for residents in a dignified manner when the staff utilized headphones while on duty and ignored requests for assistance for seven residents” at a group interview.” During the interview, residents stated that “staff did not socialize with them and the group would prefer for the staff to socialize and [stop] listening to headphones. The group voiced concerns that the staff could not hear call lights sounding if they were wearing headphones.”

The surveyor noted that the facility failed to follow their July 1, 2014, policy titled Cell Phone, Camera and Other Recording Devices that reads in part:

“The intent of the facility is to ensure all associates may be reached in case of an emergency while they are at work and the facility’s intent to provide care and services for residents in a polite, timely and dignified manner. The policy instructed that personal cell phones are to be kept in the associate’s locker or associate designated area and are to be used only on break or meal times.”

  • Failure to Provide Residents a Safe, Clean and Comfortable Home-like Environment

After a group interview, staff interview, observations and review of the Resident Council minutes, it was noted that the facility “failed to maintain a safe, sanitary, comfortable environment for the residents.” The minutes revealed that “staff does not take laundry in a timely manner on all shifts.” Other complaints include:

“Staff did not use cleaning supplies in the bathroom and did not cleaned thoroughly.
Housekeeping not properly cleaning rooms.
Staff did not clean the corners in the rooms, did not cleaned under the bed, did not change trash bags, did the bare minimum and did not move stuff when cleaning.”

An observation made by the surveyor noted that at 7:20 PM on July 31, 2017, there was “a strong ammonia-like urine odor in the container at the top of the Aspenwood Hall overflowed with dirty linen.” Observations were made of a lizard tank containing “piles of feces all over the tank.” A birdcage in the area “contained large amounts of build up debris, mold, dirt and bird feces. The bottom of the cage had two layers of newspaper lining separated by a couple of inches; both layers were completely covered with dry food remains in piles of feces.”

  • Failure to Provide Pain Medications and Failure to Provide Daily Dressing Changes to a Surgical Site

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated August 15, 2017, the state investigator noted the facility’s failure “to complete ongoing assessments of a resident’s pain by a qualified nurse and [a failure to] provide pain medications after indicators of pain presented for [a resident]. The facility continually ignored the resident’s request for pain medications over a minimum period of eight hours who had a recent amputation of the forefoot and [a failure to] provide daily dressing change to the surgical site.”

The surveyor also noted that these failures lead to the resident “seeking treatment at the hospital. Based on a record review, staff interview and facility policy, the facility failed to assess and intervene [on behalf of the resident].”

  • Failure to Assist Residents Who Required Help

During a review and survey conducted on August 15, 2017, the state investigator noted that the facility’s “failed to provide toileting assistance for [two residents] and failed to provide baiting assistance for [another six residents].” There was also a report of a failure “to provide eating assistance for [one resident].”

  • Failure to Provide Proper Treatment to Prevent the Development of a New Pressure Sore or Allowing Existing Pressure Sore to Heal

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated August 15, 2017, investigators noted that the facility had failed “to prevent the development of a pressure sore” for a resident who “is at risk for the development of pressure ulcers [… and] had a Stage II pressure ulcer at the time of the assessment.

  • Failure to Provide Residents an Environment Free of Accident Hazards

After conducting a review of facility policies, staff interviews, family interviews and clinical record reviews, it was determined that the facility had “failed to provide adequate supervision during rounds and shift change leading to a resident being unaccounted for.” It was also noted that the facility “failed to complete rounds in a manner to check on all residents’ whereabouts on July 14, 2017 [when the resident was] not in the building or around the premises when the shift change occurred at 10:00 PM.

The facility remained unaware of the missing resident until the resident’s family member reported to the facility at 12:10 AM on July 15, 2017 [when] the resident was being treated at the hospital emergency room.” The surveyor noticed that these findings “constitute an Immediate Jeopardy situation to residents.” Additionally, the facility “failed to provide supervision of an unlocked medication card so that residents would not have access to medications not prescribed to them.”

  • Failure to Ensure That Each Resident’s Drug Regimen Is Free from Unnecessary Medications

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated August 15, 2017, the state investigator noted the facility failed “to document non-pharmacological interventions attempted prior to the administration of as-needed anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications for [two residents].” The State surveyor noted that the facility failed to follow their March 2016 revised Antipsychotic Use policy that revealed “the intent of the policy was to ensure all non-medication interventions have been attempted to assist the resident upon for displaying mood, behavior sleep concerns. This policy refers to all neuroleptics, hypnotics, sedatives, antidepressants, and anxiolytics.

The policy also states that “antipsychotic medications will be used only when it is necessary to treat a specific condition. Prior to requesting a medication for the purpose of mood, behavior, sleeping concerns, the interdisciplinary team (IDT) will meet to review all non-medical alternatives which have been/need to be attempted. All residents receiving anti-psychotics will have targeted behaviors monitor daily, recorded and summarized each quarter.…”

  • Failure to Provide Adequate Staff and to Ensure the Needs of Residents Are Being Met

As a part of the survey conducted on August 15, 2017, it was noted that the facility “failed to answer the call lights to request for assistance in a timely manner to meet the needs of the residents.” During a group interview, the resident’s stated that call lights go unanswered. “Group reported it is not uncommon to take up to an hour to answer the light during the day and one resident stated that it took up to four to five hours to answer the call light at night. The group reported they have clocks on the wall, so they are able to keep track of how long it takes to get help. One resident explained that some residents do not always have the call light available to reach, and have to go up to the Hall to yell for help.”

  • Failure to Provide Every Resident Environment Free of Accident Hazards

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated January 26, 2017, the State surveyor noted that the facility had failed to “provide adequate supervision to prevent accidents for [a resident].” A review of the resident’s MBS (Minimum Data Set) revealed that the resident “had no behavioral symptoms directed toward others during the assessment period.” However, the Internal Investigations Form dated on June 17, 2016, documented that the resident “hit another resident with the back of [their] hand to the other resident’s upper back when the other resident bumped [the resident’s] wheelchair in passing. The residents were immediately separated.”

The resident’s revised July 29, 2016, Care Plan identified that the resident “sometimes became angry [and became] physically aggressive toward others. The interventions included frequent checks initiated June 17, 2016. These issues were resolved “on January 19, 2017 [using] redirection when voicing a concern/problem that they are ready to address, talk slowly when not able to understand, offer kind words and reassurance when upset, and allow [the resident] to vent their feelings.” However, the “Care Plan did not address [the resident’s] history of hitting another resident or how to keep other resident safe when [they] became upset.”

Have You Been Abused or Mistreated in an Iowa Nursing Facility?

Were you neglected or abused while residing in a nursing home facility or assisted living center that led to personal injury, suffering or pain? If so, hiring a personal attorney to handle your compensation case might be the best decision you can make. With legal representation, you can hold those responsible for your injuries legally accountable while seeking monetary recovery for your damages.

Complete this form for a free review of your case.

To learn about laws and regulations related to Iowa nursing homes, look here.

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