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Owner of Dubuque long-term care facility settles with feds over COVID-19 screening issues

Dubuque Specialty Care
Courtesy Care Initiatives

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) -- The parent company of a long-term care facility in Dubuque will repay the federal government more than $200,000 to resolve claims over its practices for screening employees for COVID-19.

Care Initiatives, a Texas company with a home office in West Des Moines, has agreed to repay $214,200 in Medicaid funds. The company does not admit any liability as part of the settlement. The money covers a 10-week period while residents at Dubuque Specialty Care were testing positive for COVID-19.

The federal government claims the facility wasn't conducting proper COVID-19 screenings during that time. Officials say Care Initiatives cooperated during the investigation.

"Being a healthcare provider in the Medicare and Medicaid programs is a privilege, not a right. It is incumbent upon these providers to protect the safety of beneficiaries under their care, especially during this pandemic," Special Agent in Charge Curt L. Muller of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said. "Our investigators, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will continue to thoroughly investigate allegations of substandard safety practices."

Anyone with direct knowledge of facilities in the Northern District of Iowa failing to comply with recognized standards and procedures during the pandemic are encouraged to report it to the appropriate authorities, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

"Our office expects that recipients of federal healthcare funds take appropriate steps to maintain beneficiary safety, to protect our district’s most vulnerable residents, and to ensure their practices comport with recognized standards, especially during this unprecedented time," Acting U.S. Attorney Sean R. Berry said.

Trevor Oates

Executive Producer

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