An Iowa nursing household chain frequently accused of furnishing substandard treatment for hundreds of seniors has submitted for personal bankruptcy protection.

QHC Facilities, based mostly in Clive, operates eight experienced nursing amenities in Tama, Madison, Humboldt, Jackson, Linn, Webster and Polk counties, as very well as two assisted dwelling centers. Collectively, the services have a most ability of extra than 700 inhabitants. The corporation employs around 300 entire-time and part-time personnel.

The business filed for personal bankruptcy previous week, boasting $1 million in assets and $26.3 million in liabilities.

In recent several years, QHC and its affiliate marketers have been strike with some of the most significant federal fines at any time imposed towards an Iowa nursing residence chain, with inspectors stating the organization experienced put residents in speedy jeopardy owing to substandard treatment. At the exact same time, having said that, the enterprise has sued its elderly citizens for failure to pay back for that treatment, and has neglected to spend a lot more than $700,000 in fines.

In court filings this earlier week, QHC asserted that given that March 2020 it has confronted “significant fiscal challenges” thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the company’s nursing houses “grappled with caring for their inhabitants and preserving sufficient operational liquidity amidst continually shifting circumstances.”

The business also explained to the court it has been working with “crippling staffing and staff retention difficulties, and amplified working costs associated with personal protecting devices, labor pressures, and other associated costs.” QHC states it has obtained “some relief” from federal support packages, but “has received only pretty limited point out relief.”

According to QHC, the fiscal problems had been allegedly compounded by the dying of previous CEO Jerry Voyna seven months in the past, which had “a devastating impact” on the organization. Voyna was succeeded as CEO by his widow, Nancy, who mentioned in courtroom filings this week that the corporation was “highly reliant on (Jerry’s) operational and economical administration.” Even so, she also said that immediately after her husband’s dying it was found out the company had not been having to pay a series of quarterly expenses owed to the point out, leaving an amassed personal debt of $4 million.

QHC says it is now “seeking an expedited sale of operations beneath which patient treatment will continue on uninterrupted and staff and seller associations will proceed.”

The business been given permission from the court this week to continue shelling out cash on worker wages and other operational expenses in buy to hold the homes open up. Payment of these obligations, the enterprise explained in court docket filings, is “crucial for protecting personnel self-confidence and morale and will stimulate workforce to remain in the make use of of the debtor at this vital time.”

Federal fines unpaid and earlier thanks   

QHC has confronted a lot of sizeable federal fines in current yrs — some of which surface to remain unpaid — owing to ongoing high-quality-of-treatment concerns.

Final calendar year, federal officers fined the QHC’s Fort Dodge Villa much more than $685,000 – one particular of the greatest fines ever levied in opposition to an Iowa care facility — following a state inspection uncovered many, critical deficiencies in resident care.

As of December, the dwelling was continue to not in compliance with minimum standards, and so the fines versus the facility were being continuing to accrue at the price of $330 for each working day.

All told, QHC allegedly owes $703,377 in past-owing federal fines tied to violations at its treatment facilities, in accordance to condition facts. Merged with the daily fines at Fort Dodge, the organization could wind up owing taxpayers $1.4 million in federal fines.

Final month, the Iowa Cash Dispatch questioned QHC about the unpaid fines. Soon after 11 times, the company reported it was “still researching” the status of six fines that overall $536,835. The company mentioned it was functioning toward payment of two fines totaling a lot more than $100,000 and explained that it experienced paid in entire a single wonderful of $39,858.

1 QHC facility, the Mitchell Village Care Heart, also regarded as QHC Mitchellville, has at periods been staffed by only one particular minimal-degree nurse aide to glimpse right after 40 or far more citizens, according to state reviews.

The director of nursing allegedly told state inspectors last yr that the house was “falling apart” with “bed-ridden, weakened inhabitants with no one particular to support them.” The inspectors viewed as staffers made their rounds and failed to sanitize products or don the protective robes meant to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

A nurse aide instructed inspectors she was by no means explained to where by to find own protective tools or how to use it, and mentioned “everything in the facility is a mess.” A registered nurse described the scenario for inspectors as a “free-for-all, with no management from management.”

In the previous two decades, the federal Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Services has imposed federal fines of more than $105,000 from Mitchell Village, but in accordance to the condition details, people are among the fines that stay unpaid.

QHC sued its residents for payment

1 previous resident of QHC’s Mitchell Village residence is Frances Solinger, who  died at the property in 2015, allegedly as the outcome of carelessness. Her relatives sued QHC, and ahead of the case was settled out of court, Frances’ daughter, Jennifer Sanford of Reynolds, gave a deposition in which she claimed she and her siblings visited their mother at the household and continuously located her sitting down on the bathroom waiting around for anyone to assistance her up, or lying in a bed soaked in urine and feces.

“We dependable them,” Sanford testified. “The toilet issue constantly upsets me because …  I would go to take a look at and she’d be in the rest room sitting on that stool. It’s practically like they forgot about her and she couldn’t do everything about it since she could not get up on her very own … Also, there was periods I would be up there and mom would have long gone to the bathroom (in her bed), and I’d push the get in touch with light-weight. Once more, I really gave them plenty of time — how I felt would be enough time to occur into that place to support. I would start out grabbing the gloves on my have to clean her up … When they promise you that they are likely to take treatment of your mother, you want to imagine them … That’s all you do. You hope that they do what they explain to you they are heading to do.”

Regardless of a near-continual stream of regulatory violations alleging substandard treatment, QHC has been having its aged inhabitants to court docket to force payment for that exact same treatment.

Considering the fact that 2018, QHC has sued additional than a dozen of its personal inhabitants, even as authorities regulators mentioned the enterprise has positioned individuals residents in harm’s way.

Among the the Iowans sued by QHC: Arnold Gibson for $9,500 Dona Ballantine for $5,300 Charlene Seehusen for $13,000 Georgia Gumm for $8,300 Milo Lammers for $14,300 Donna Working day for $1,800 Merlene Rynearson for $22,000 Scott Neil for $3,600 Jonathan Riley for $39,000 Marcella Davis for $27,000 Sue Paul for $11,000, and Frederic Davis for $3,000.

In April of very last year, QHC sued a resident of the Fort Dodge dwelling, Danny Richardson, for nonpayment of $36,343 in billings. Richardson died with the situation even now pending, so QHC pursued his widow, Eileen, for payment just before settling the circumstance out of court.

More a short while ago, QHC has been the target of lawsuits filed by other organizations that perform a immediate job in offering care at QHC services.

In April of very last calendar year, a staffing organization that presented QHC with employees sued for nonpayment of $113,000. A trial is scheduled for upcoming November. In Oct, a organization that provided rehabilitation services for QHC sued for nonpayment of $945,000. A trial-setting conference in that situation is scheduled for this thirty day period.

QHC is also experiencing wrongful dying statements, which include a case filed by the household of Gladys Van Sickle, who died immediately after allegedly sustaining broken bones in a tumble at Winterset North. A trial in that scenario is scheduled for Oct 2023.