A reporting error caused about 10% of Iowa nursing homes to tell the federal government they have no N-95 masks

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:44 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - About 10 percent of nursing homes in Iowa told The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) they have no N-95 masks and other personal protective equipment.

The federal agency requires every nursing home in the country to report information about COVID-19 inside its facilities. These reports allow the federal government to monitor the situation in long-term care facilities around the country. But our KCRG-TV9 i9 investigative unit found major discrepancies between the federal government’s tally of the supply and what’s actually in stock at these facilities

Hallmark Care Center, which is located in Mount Vernon, was one of the 42 different facilities who told the federal government it had no N-95 masks. ABCM Corporation, who is based in Iowa, owns the property. Our i9 investigative unit discovered the corporation owns around 30 different facilities who told the federal government it had no N-95 masks.

Kara Koster, who is the lead marketing consultant for ABCM Corporation said, in a statement to TV9, its locations have enough PPE, and blamed the discrepancy on a reporting error on their end.

“Initially, the question on adequate PPE on hand was set as a default answer of “no” when PPE was difficult to come by in the beginning of the pandemic and was an oversight on our part when PPE became more readily available to correct," she said. “This has now been corrected and will be reviewed weekly for the reporting requirements.”

Koster, who declined an on-camera interview, said the company gave other answers that were incorrect. She did specify which questions were answered incorrectly.

She said the company has had trouble submitting information to the survey.

“Additionally, after we initially began the reporting, we had a provider from WI {Wisconsin} upload and change the data for one of our locations by error,” Koster said. “The fact that anyone could enter and overwrite our data made it obvious that CMS itself was not too concerned about the security or accuracy of the information. The resources we felt we needed to dedicate to this dwindled considerably at that point.”

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