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LDH Revokes Nursing Home Licenses After Ida Deaths

Courtesy: Chuck Smith / Red River Radio News

LA NURSING HOMES TRAGEDY— Louisiana health officials are revoking the licenses of seven nursing homes whose residents were evacuated  to  a  warehouse  after Hurricane Ida made landfall last week.  Seven people died amid deteriorating  condtions  and according to several reports  residents made 911 calls using their cellphones asking for help.    Authorities found some seniors lying on mattresses on the floor, without food or clean clothes, and detected strong odors of feces in the warehouse,  which is located in the town of Independence.  The Louisiana Department of Health said it alerted the owner of the nursing homes of the action on Tuesday. According to a statement from LDH the homes failed to execute their emergency preparedness plans to provide essential care and services to their residents. Executive Counsel  for  LDH Steven Russo explained what happened when LDH officials tried to inspect the warehouse. 

"When LDH was making efforts to fully discover the site conditions post-landfall, LDH surveryors and inspectors  instead of being provided necessary information were prohibited by the facility and their owner from conducting and completing onsite inspections and surveys," Russo said.

Credit Courtesy: LPB
Courtesy: LPB
Stephen Russo,  Dir. of Legal, Audit and Regulatory Affairs -LDH

Russo said LDH moved the residents to certified facilities currently in operation to  assure they received proper  and necessary care.  Health  officials  said the owner, Bob Dean, failed to contact LDH  for help and had state inspectors from the agency thrown off the property.  State health officials and Attorney General Jeff Landry have launched an investigation into the deaths.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.