The Des Moines Register reported that Mary Morse-Bolton, an Iowa nursing home owner, allegedly owes the state more than $400,000 in Medicaid overpayments, unpaid fines and unpaid taxes but continues to operate nursing homes despite numerous allegations of poor resident care and improper billing. For some unknown reason, Morse-Bolton has not been sanctioned for failing to pay the fines that date back to 2009. Her nursing home administrator’s license remains in good standing with state regulators.

In April 2010, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals alleged that one of her care facilities, Faith Ridge Life Center in Malvern, failed to ensure that residents were treated with dignity and respect, despite numerous staff and resident complaints of abusive conduct by one particular nurse aide.

The nurse aide allegedly boasted to a colleague that she would rub strawberries inside the water glass of a resident who was known to be allergic to the fruit. Nine co-workers alleged the aide also told residents to shut up; left the residents in urine-soaked clothing; concealed resident injuries from the nursing staff; told residents she was “too busy” to meet their needs; and switched off residents’ call lights without providing any assistance.

As a result of the inspectors’ findings, the state imposed a $1,500 fine against Faith Ridge. It was the home’s third fine in three months for failing to treat residents with dignity and respect. Today, nearly four years later, the $1,500 fine remains unpaid, and no sanctions have been imposed against the home for lack of payment. There appear to have been no efforts made to collect the fine for the past two years.

Companies controlled by Morse-Bolton have, in the state’s words, “repeatedly demonstrated poor quality” in delivering home-based services to the mentally disabled, and that they have, for the past nine years, repeatedly failed to provide documentation to support their billings to the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program.

Then, last fall, the state notified Morse-Bolton that Faith Ridge was two years behind in paying a quarterly health care tax imposed on all Iowa nursing homes. At the time, the state alleged, Faith Ridge owed $287,000 in delinquent taxes.

At the same time, the state notified Morse-Bolton that she owed the state an additional $165,315 for Medicaid overpayments that were routed to Kevington Lane, a care facility she operates in Sidney.

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