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Pesky Government Regulations No Problem For Assisted Living Facility In Iowa

Picture-99Dubuque Retirement Community was the largest assisted living center in Iowa.  It was run by Assisted Living Concepts, a Wisconsin for-profit-corporation that operates 216 care facilities in twenty states.  Now, Assisted Living Concepts has given up its assisted-living license on the troubled 116-resident facility.

In its short two-year history as an assisted living center, Dubuque Retirement Community amassed several fines for failure to meet minimum government standards with respect to providing adequate resident care.  For example:

  • A $500 fine for having no hot water for three days in February 2008;
  • A $2,000 fine in October 2008 for problems including staffing, food, and medication;
  • A $4,000 fine in February 2009 for continued problems with medication and staffing, including a fifteen-hour delay in finding a resident who had fallen and broken a hip;
  • Another $10,000 fine for medication errors and failure to employ trained staff.

In April of this year, government inspectors placed the Dubuque Retirement Community’s license on conditional status.  Less than two months later, the facility announced its decision to abandon its license.

But that is not the end of the story.  Assisted Living Concepts intends to continue to provide housing for seniors at the same facility as an independent living facility, acting as a “landlord” to the seniors.  It will allow the former residents to enter into new contracts to pay separately for round-the-clock healthcare. The company that will provide medical care for residents is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Assisted Living Concepts.

Assisted Living Concepts has severed the link of housing and medical care that triggers licensing and government oversight.  It appears, therefore, to have found a loophole that allows it to avoid the rules and regulations that it was having trouble following, rules that are designed protect vulnerable residents of assisted living facilities.

Not surprisingly, an Iowa state representative has asked the state to monitor the facility and report back as to whether legislative action is needed.  I can think of no reason why legislators should allow a loophole that allows facilities, particularly those that have been repeatedly cited and fined for sub-standard operations while licensed, to operate provide essentially the same services without the careful oversight of the government.

Source: Clark Kauffman, Assisted Living Center Changing Its Status to Avoid Licensing Rules, Des Moines Register (July 13, 2009).

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  • TGM

    I feel there should be no alcohol ever served in any of the assisted living or nursing homes. Wine, would be OK, if it’s for religious issues. Or if they sipped it in their rooms.
    But, as long as they are getting Medicare or medicaid, then the residents need to know that one of their neighbors isn’t going to have a little too much and have issues with them getting into the wrong room. If it ever happens where my loved one is at, I’ll be contacting anyone that will listen and they will be closing their doors, immediately, if not sooner.
    When we looked at the one our relative is in, they were told that they would have their own cook and it would be first rate. Yeh, right.
    They get what the nursing home is fixing for that day. I’ve only eaten one meal there, but one night we stopped by to check them out, before our relative went to live there. The food looked like spagettio’s from a can. Really? at over $2,500.00 per month?

  • James

    If there were a list of most corrupt and awful companies in America, Assisted Living Concepts would most definitely make it. I have a grandparent at Dubuque Retirement Community and it is evident even to me who has been there a handful of times that the company is in for nothing but money. The reason they have staffing problems is because they are awful to them. They do not care about ANYTHING that isn’t money, including residents. I have seen the place go through multiple supervisors and nurses. However, from what I have seen, most of the people that do work there are very caring and kind with a good attitude about a bad situation. If the blame wants to be put somewhere, I’d start with the company.

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