Grassley highlights nursing home problems with hearing

Patricia Blank testifies before a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing last week about her mother’s death in 2018 at Timely Mission Nursing Home.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley led a Senate Finance Committee hearing last Wednesday, March 6 on the topic of protecting older Americans from abuse and neglect in nursing homes. Grassley, who serves as chairman of the committee, invited Patricia Blank of Shell Rock to testify at the hearing about her mother, Virginia Olthoff, who died last February at Timely Mission Nursing Home in Buffalo Center.

Timely Mission was fined last year following the deaths of Olthoff and another resident at the nursing home in February of 2018. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals cited the nursing home for failing to address symptoms of three residents and for failing to notify the residents’ physicians of changes in their conditions.

“How a place with the highest possible rating could yield such a tragic incident is just outrageous,” said Grassley, referring to Timely Mission’s five-star rating at the time by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). “Things need to change, both for the standards at care facilities and for how CMS rates them. When American families consider where their loved ones can get the care they need, they should be able to rely on CMS information. That’s clearly not the case right now.”

Blank says her mother, who suffered from dementia, had been at Timely Mission for nearly 15 years.

For the full story, see this week's Buffalo Center Tribune. Subscribe by calling 1-800-558-1244 ext 122 or email Deb at circulation@midamericapub.com or by clicking here.