Sat, 25 Sep 2021

Deaths during hurricane cause nursing homes to lose licenses

Robert Besser
12 Sep 2021, 04:11 GMT+10

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana: Louisiana health officials announced they have revoked the licenses of seven nursing homes which evacuated their residents during Hurricane Ida to a warehouse where seven died.

They deemed the conditions in the warehouse, located in the town of Independence, too squalid to be safe.

In a statement, Department of Health Secretary Courtney Phillips said the homes, all owned by commercial developer Bob Dean, "clearly failed to execute their emergency preparedness plans to provide essential care and services to their residents."

Some nursing home residents were discovered by officials lying on mattresses on the floor without food or clean clothes, and piles of trash were scattered nearby.

The conditions were described as "inhumane" by Stephen Russo, Health Department lawyer.

The Tangipahoa Parish warehouse was designed to house 300 to 500 people but took in more than 800, a police spokesperson stated.

Attorney-General Jeff Landry and state health officials have launched investigations into the deaths.

State health officials stressed Dean did not ask them for help and denied inspectors access to the property when they arrived to monitor the conditions after receiving complaints.

The nursing facilities and their quality of care received poor federal ratings after inspections, even before the incident.

The Health Department, which closed the facilities three days before revoking their licenses on Tuesday so residents could not be sent back, considers five of the seven deaths to be storm-related.

It added that it sent information about the evacuation and the conditions at the warehouse to Attorney-General Landry's office and local and federal law enforcement agencies.

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