BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – State health leaders are shutting down seven nursing homes after seven people died and hundreds more had to be rescued after evacuating during Hurricane Ida.
Bob Dean Junior owns the nursing homes that evacuated more than 800 residents to a warehouse in Independence.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the facility was unprepared for the number of evacuees and as a result, multiple people died.
Head of Legal, Audit and Regulatory Affairs for LDH Stephen Russo said all seven facilities failed to properly execute post-landfall emergency preparedness plans to provide essential care and services to their residents.
Along with revoking licenses, LDH has also moved to terminate the provider agreements for Medicaid with immediate effect.
Ahead of Hurricane Ida, 800 residents from seven facilities were taken to the warehouse. As the hurricane passed, reports of water seeping into the building started to flow in.
“We had gotten word that approximately eight inches of water had infiltrated at least one or two buildings on that site and so that’s what swung us into action,” said Russo.
At least 30 calls were made from the facility for help, but when the state arrived, they were prevented from going inside.
“Instead of being provided necessary information, we’re prohibited by the facilities and their owner from conducting and completing on-site inspections and surveys,” said Russo. “LDH employees involved in ascertaining the safety and the welfare of residents were also subject to intimidation.”
LDH said they would have gone in sooner, but were receiving conflicting messages.
“We were getting text messages from the owner saying that they had a plan in place and everything was fine and that is not what we were finding when we were on the ground,” said Russo.
Video inside the facility shows a horrific scene and now an investigation will find out whether checks and balances were in place to protect our most vulnerable.
“I don’t think anyone could reasonably reach a different conclusion that the standard of care for those residents who are our most fragile residents was not met,” said Russo.
LDH said they are working to move those people to licensed facilities that are currently operational.
Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office opened an investigation.
Anyone with information that could help the investigation should click here.