Last week’s column regarding the passing of Bob Queener resulted in my receipt of phone calls, emails and many letters from folks both in and outside of my senate district, whose loved ones are being warehoused in certain corporate nursing homes.
The stories are virtually all the same. I will be preparing a generalized report incorporating the basic issues of the complaints (without identifying the individuals) and send to all legislators, the Department of Human Services and Governor Branstad.
Frankly, I’ve been exposed to an epidemic of abuse that emanates from the fact that “the bottom line” is the first statistic viewed by the management of these corporations, most of whom aren’t even from Iowa. As always, the almighty dollar dictates.
I’m determined because I viewed so much mental abuse to Bob Queener. Add to that the horror stories of elderly patients who are misdiagnosed and prescribed the wrong medication; patients who are diagnosed correctly but still prescribed the wrong medication.
My informers also advised me of their loved ones being prescribed a plethora of medications, and after ingesting, becoming oblivious to their surroundings when placed in front of a TV in a wheelchair all day where they will cause no disruptions.
And then there is the stated “requirement” from some corporates that all prescriptions must be filled from their own pharmacy, which then costs the patient more for their meds. This occurred with Mr. Queener until I threatened going to the Attorney General’s office.
In fact, we were advised by a nurse that she would not administer any prescription that did not come from their own pharmacy. Soon enough, Bob’s regular pharmacy was delivering the prescribed drugs, and the corporate’s “drug plan” was dropped.
The monthly cost for their plan was unbelievable, and on top of his $5,000 a month for a bed to sleep in, shared bathroom, monitoring and meals.
There is so much more to come out, but I will get into other specific issues and verifiable instances of abuse in the future. But for now, I and many others are collecting information that is undisputable.
Of course there will be disputes, and I anticipate litigation over our exposing the truth behind what is happening to our elderly or infirmed.
I am not broad-brushing the entire nursing home industry. Readers know who the good and the evil are, for you have either experienced it with your elders, or had reliable verification of the travesties that occur to others.
We have many very good nursing homes in Iowa, but likewise, a few rotten apples cause suspicion of many. This is unfair to those in the industry that really care for their patients, and do treat your elder family members with respect, dignity and compassion.
I’m extremely busy this interim between sessions with constituent concerns of fairly great proportions. May and June flooding devastated a housing development in Kellogg; and Prairie City is having to contend with ambient ground concrete dust in the center of town.
Constituents in the Southeast Polk School district are fighting a proposed massive warehouse development in close proximity to their schools; and IDOT is proposing to spend $15 million in constructing an interchange at the junction of Highway 65 (330) and the “Baxter blacktop.”
Constituents have requested my assistance, and that’s my job.