OCT. 8, 2021 - DIA Health Facilities Division Assistant Administrator Linda Kellen, Lake Mills Care Center Administrator Krystal Thoe, DIA Health Facilities Division Administrator Dawn Fisk, and ABCM Corporation CEO Richard Allbee pose for a photo after the facility was awarded the Governor's Award for Quality Care in Health Care Facilities.

DES MOINES — Officials from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) today presented the second of two Governor’s Awards for Quality Care in Health Care Facilities for 2021.

The Lake Mills Care Center is a skilled nursing facility located at 406 South 10th Avenue in Lake Mills, Iowa, with a capacity for 78 residents. The facility was nominated by Connie Sabin, the wife of a resident.

In her application, she said the care her husband received was "first class."

When the pandemic prevented her from visiting her husband in person, the staff arranged to bring her husband to a window with a phone and helped him to sing "You are My Sunshine" to his wife. Additionally, she was allowed compassionate-care visits with him.

Although her husband has passed since she nominated Lake Mills Care Center, Connie still volunteers at the facility and said she can never give back what the staff gave her and her husband. She said the facility provided "loving care," and stressed that the staff treated her and her husband like family. She even told them as much.

The staff replied: "No, you ARE family."

Administrator Krystal Thoe said she was honored to work with the staff at Lake Mills Care Center, and that they deserved this award for all of their hard work.

While DIA staff toured the facility, Administrator Thoe pointed out that several staff had been at the center for several years - some for decades. For example, a social worker retired after 31 years, the dietary director has worked there for 26 years. Several staff members began working at the facility as aides while in high school, and worked summers while in nursing school until joining the staff full time.

“It is obvious the staff at Lake Mills Care Center care deeply about its residents," said DIA Director Larry Johnson, Jr. "Not only from the low turnover, but in the way they interact with the residents and their families. They should all be proud of the work they do."

ABCM Corporation has operated the facility since 1981.

The Governor’s Award for Quality Care was established to recognize health care facilities that provide – in the nominator’s opinion – a high level of care to their residents. Since the first awards were presented in 2001, 60 awards have been awarded to 52 different facilities.

Accura HealthCare of Stanton, a 46-bed skilled nursing facility in Stanton, Iowa, received the first award for 2021 on Sept. 17.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals is committed to protecting the health and safety of Iowans through regulation and oversight of health care, food, and gaming; application of administrative law; and investigation of Medicaid and welfare fraud.

OCT. 8, 2021 - Staff from Lake Mills Care Center pose with their award: Tanya Steele-Peterson, Stephanie Gilbertson, Randy Movick, Krystal Thoe, Lisa Sunkle, Katie Vanderpool, Traci Harvey, Denise Engelby, Holli Jo Austin, and Morgan Reiter.