State inspectors cleared some Iowa nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks, deaths

Iowa nursing home facilities with dozens of COVID-19 cases that underwent several state infection-control inspections were cleared each time, the Des Moines Register reports. 

Across Iowa’s 20 nursing homes with the largest number of outbreaks accounting for over 1,300 infections, 39 infection-control inspections have taken place since the start of the pandemic. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals reported six were in violation, and none of the 20 facilities, regardless of reported violations, were fined, according to the Des Moines Register. 

For instance, inspectors visited Hiawatha Care Center in Linn County five times between June and November, clearing the facility each time. The nursing home houses 71 residents and has reported at least 94 infections among staff and residents since the last inspection Nov. 1. 

At Perry Lutheran Home, at least 42 people have been infected and three residents died of COVID-19. Inspectors didn’t issue fines or penalties after finding employees screened themselves, took their own temperatures and later tested positive for COVID-19, reports the Des Moines Register. 

The state inspections are part of a CMS federal initiative that requires infection-control reviews across the nation’s 15,400 certified nursing homes. A Washington Post analysis found that 80 percent of inspections are cleared. About 290,000 infections and 43,000 related deaths have been reported at cleared facilities. 

More articles on post-acute care:
US News names 2020-21 Best Nursing Homes: 5 things to know
‘It’s not what we need’: 30% of nursing facilities haven’t used federal-supplied COVID-19 rapid testing equipment
23 New York nursing homes fined $328K for COVID-19 safety violations


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