The Des Moines Register reported that two Iowa nursing homes run by a former gubernatorial candidate Jerry Rhoads have filed for bankruptcy protection. All-American Restorative Care of Washington, Ia., and Regency Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center of Council Bluffs are on the federal government’s newly updated list of the nation’s most troubled care facilities. Both have been on the list for 22 months. Throughout 2013, the home was cited for numerous infractions, including failure to meet professional standards, insufficient staffing, unsanitary food service and inadequate infection control.
Under federal regulations, a facility that has been on the list for 18 months can be barred from the Medicaid program, effectively shutting off its primary source of public funding. Both of the Iowa homes, however, continue to collect Medicaid.
Rhoads and both of his Iowa care facilities recently filed for bankruptcy protection. He’s claiming $7.2 million in debt and $889,000 in assets. Among his potential liabilities are five of the six wrongful-death claims filed by the estates of former residents of a third care facility Rhoads once operated, All-American Care of Little Rock, Ark.
Court records indicate some of those wrongful-death claims were dismissed last year after Rhoads wrote to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, stating he had “no insurance for All-American Care” and had “no resources” to pay for any settlements or legal fees. He wrote that the company was “out of business with no assets, no insurance (and) owners who lost money on the venture.”
Six months later, in September 2013, Rhoads announced he was running for governor of Iowa as an independent candidate, vowing to fight what he called the state’s “punitive and negative” enforcement of minimum-care standards.
A week later, state inspectors began investigating a June death at the Washington facility. As a result of that investigation, the federal government temporarily banned the home from accepting any new Medicaid-dependent residents and began imposing daily fines against the home until it was able to show compliance with all regulations. Those federal fines eventually totaled $70,750.
In 2012, video recorders at the home captured a resident falling and then lying on the floor for 48 minutes as nearby workers participated in a Christmas party. The resident was subsequently taken to a hospital and treated for a serious head injury.
The home also was cited for failing to perform CPR on a resident who was found in bed with no vital signs. Minutes before, an aide saw the resident breathing heavily and gasping for air and told a co-worker the resident “did not look right.”