Every Iowan regardless of race, income or ability deserves the right to age with dignity. However, we are tragically under-serving Iowa’s aging population. The pandemic exacerbated an already-festering problem in Iowa — lack of oversight and regulation in Iowa nursing homes. Before the pandemic, the Department of Inspections and Appeals was responding to only 35% of serious complaints in 10 days or fewer. This department was woefully understaffed. Covid made it worse.
According to ProPublica, of Iowa’s approximately 420 nursing homes, about 32% have been cited, many of them repeatedly, for violations serious enough to jeopardize health or safety.
In June, Iowa Capital Dispatch reported that death-related violations were cited in nursing facilities in Coralville, Pleasantville and Sioux City. The Sioux City facility’s violations resulted in four resident deaths.
Legislators from both of Iowa’s parties at both state and federal levels have called for more transparency and regulation. Yet, most Republican legislators who hold the majority in the House and Senate ignore the issue and continue to distract and divide constituents on bathroom use, book banning and “wokeness.”
Wake up! Pay attention! Check out this website for information and ratings for nursing homes in all states: Nursinghome411.org. Your life or that of your loved ones depends on it. Reach out to your state legislators and ask them to hold hearings and pass legislation about this crisis.
Karen Heidman | Sioux City