Lawmakers grilled Louisiana Department of Health officials about the botched nursing home evacuation during Hurricane Ida in which at least seven residents died while being housed in a warehouse, but received few answers Friday, The Daily Advertiser reports.
More than 800 residents from seven nursing homes owned by Baton Rouge businessman Bob Dean were subjected to what the health department described as “inhumane” conditions during the storm. However, when pressed during a Louisiana Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee hearing on the agency’s role in the debacle, director of regulatory affairs Stephen Russo often referred legislators to statutes or declined comment on the advice of his attorney.
Russo said the agency reviews evacuation plans, but doesn’t approve them, adding that it is the nursing home’s responsibility to ensure safe storm evacuations.
Investigations of the evacuation are underway by the Louisiana Department of Health and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, and lawmakers have indicated they may strengthen laws to require more oversight of the nursing home industry. Read the full story.