SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A Sioux City nursing home graduated from a specialty focus program less than one year before the process of closing the facility for patient safety had begun.  

According to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), Touchstone Healthcare Community has accumulated 484 violations since 1999 and has been charged thousands of dollars in fines. The latest violations occurred on May 26, including hazards in the environment, failure to notify proper personnel of changes in health or injuries, care provided for dependent residents, and more. The violations resulted in over $100,000 in fines.  

The Special Focus Facility (SFF) program created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was designed to help nursing homes that have significant recurring violations to improve and meet standard healthcare and safety standards.  

Touchstone Healthcare Community entered the SFF program on October 20, 2017, and was removed from the program four years later on September 24, 2021, after meeting the eligibility criteria to graduate, according to a spokesperson for CMS.  

From 2019 to 2022, Touchstone received 48 complaints that resulted in a citation, 47 of which occurred while the facility was a part of the specialty focus program, according to Medicare. The facility also received a complaint two weeks before graduating from the SFF program. The complaint for not following a patient’s care plan led to 2 federal violations and the facility corrected the actions that led to the violations. However, Touchstone received another complaint on February 15 due to incomplete background checks before the starting date for several new employees. The documents specified that each employee that was hired before the background checks were completed did not have a history of abuse or criminal activity. Touchstone was fined $15,000 for this incident, according to Medicare.  

Court documents filed on July 11 showed that the facility had announced a 60-day voluntary closure notice and requested a receivership. Documents ordered the receivership and cited an “imminent danger to the residents,” and the business was handed over to Accura Healthcare Management Services.