Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

Sioux City Nursing Home Ex-Nurse Tied to Deaths Was Instructed To Falsify Records

Published on Oct 6, 2023 by Thomas Law Offices.

Sioux City Nursing Home Ex-Nurse Tied to Deaths Was Instructed To Falsify Records
According to a Sept. 27 news report from the Des Moines Register, a nurse who resigned from an Iowa nursing home testified during her hearing for her claim of unemployment benefits that she was instructed to falsify medical records and allow unqualified assistants to administer medications to residents.

Teressa A. Hansen resigned in late June from Countryside Health Care Center in Sioux City. She had worked at the facility as a charge nurse for six months and was responsible for overseeing certified nursing assistants and administering medication to residents.

Management at Countryside cut the number of employees in the spring and early summer of 2023, and Hansen testified that made it harder for the remaining staff to care for the 52 residents. In June, the management of the facility instructed Hansen to train a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the duties of a registered nurse, and that, moving forward, the CNA would take over certain nursing duties, like passing out medications, while Hansen would be required to sign off on performing these tasks.

Hansen testified that management allegedly told her not to question this decision when she objected, and she resigned the next day. She testified that providing medical treatments to residents is outside the scope of a CNA’s practice and that falsifying documentation is not only illegal but would jeopardize her nursing license.

Hansen was awarded her unemployment benefits because, according to Administrative Law Judge Patrick B. Thomas, her allegations were credible, and she had resigned for good cause attributable to the nursing home.

Multiple Deaths Cited at Countryside Health Care Center

In late July, just one month after Hansen’s resignation, Countryside closed its doors. But in the seven months leading up to the closure, the home was cited for numerous incidents, including the deaths of several of its residents. Most notably:

  • In January, a female resident was found unresponsive on the floor of her room and died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. The facility was cited for failing to properly supervise the resident and for failing to report the incident to the state.
  • In April, state inspectors responded to a backlog of nineteen uninvestigated complaints and cited Countryside with twenty federal violations and five state violations at that time. Specifically noted was failing to inform the state about a resident who fell and died and failing to care for a resident who developed foul-smelling wounds on her legs, which led to her hospitalization and subsequent death.
  • In June, eight more federal violations and one state violation were cited against the facility. These citations were for failing to report major resident injuries to the state and failing to report a resident’s hospitalization due to life-threatening sepsis.
  • An additional four federal violations and one state violation were cited against Countryside, including one for failing to check vital signs or contact a physician when a resident’s blood pressure and urinary output dropped and her abdomen became distended. The resident was hospitalized and died shortly after.

In the three years prior to its closure, Countryside Health Care Center was fined fourteen times by the federal government, totaling more than $98,000, with most of those fines being held in suspension while federal regulators at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could impose penalties.

Isaac Dole, the CEO of the investment firm Birchwood Healthcare Partners, is tied to Opco Sioux City, an Iowa for-profit corporation that managed Countryside. One of the nation’s largest nursing home real estate owners, Aviv REIT, priorly employed Dole in the role of managing director of acquisitions.

Dole was unable to be reached for comment.

Pending Lawsuit Against Opco and Countryside

A lawsuit from former resident Darcy Basalyga and her family has been filed against Countryside and Opco. The lawsuit alleges that while Basalyga lived at Countryside, the facility repeatedly failed to check her blood sugar levels, which resulted in two separate hospitalizations, a diagnosis of infection, diabetic coma, pneumonia, dehydration, and severe open wounds.

Opco has denied any wrongdoing, despite the Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing citing the facility for the alleged deficiencies in Basalyga’s care. This case is scheduled for trial in June 2024.

If you or someone you love was a resident at Countryside Health Care Center and wishes to pursue legal action against Countryside or Opco, our expert team of nursing home abuse attorneys at Thomas Law Office is here to help. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

What Does MMI Mean in Workers’ Compensation?

A workplace injury can occur in the office or the construction site. According to data compiled by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, there were 38,600 nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses in 2021 across Kentucky’s private industries. At some point, every one of those injuries reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI). What does the […]

Read More

Can Medical Errors Cause PTSD?

When you suffer negligence at the hands of a medical provider, obvious physical issues arise in the aftermath. Your illness is worse instead of better, or you have a new injury that you didn’t have before. The stress and frustration of your situation might feel overwhelming and unstoppable, and you may begin to feel symptoms […]

Read More

5 Strategies To Keep Your Loved Ones Safe in the Hospital

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as many as 35.5 million hospitalizations occur in the United States annually. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comparing hospitalization rates among 1-64-year-olds between 2009 and 2018 shows that just 5.2% of Americans in that age range were […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion