Senate Democrats Call For More State Oversight Of Nursing Homes

Des Moines, Iowa — Employees who used to inspect Iowa nursing homes Democrats in the Iowa Senate say there’s a nursing home crisis in Iowa and the Senate Oversight Committee should launch a bipartisan investigation.

Senator Claire Celsi, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says some facilities are not being properly managed and it’s a life and death issue for some nursing home residents.

There are over 400 nursing homes in Iowa and Celsi says the state should be employing far more than 49 nursing home inspectors. She points to Michigan, which has a similar number of nursing homes and 47 percent more inspectors.

Republicans hold the majority of seats in the Iowa Senate and control the debate agenda, including what gets committee review. A spokesperson for Senate Republicans was not immediately available for comment. Senate Democrats hosted a statehouse news conference early this (Thursday) morning that included retired state employees who worked as nursing home inspectors. Mary Weaver of Rippey is a retired registered nurse who worked in the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. She’s concerned about a friend in an eastern Iowa nursing home who isn’t being bathed regularly and recently waited 90 minutes for assistance in getting to the rest room.

Dean Lerner was director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals for a decade.

John Hale, a consultant who focuses on long term care issues, says there are too many head-shaking instances of abuse and neglect in Iowa nursing homes.

He says 800 million dollars in state tax money will go to Iowa nursing homes this year and there must be more accountability.



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