By KEVIN McGILL – Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The owner of seven Louisiana nursing homes who sent more than 800 of his elderly residents to an overcrowded and ill-equipped warehouse to weather Hurricane Ida last year, was arrested on Wednesday for fraud and cruelty. conditions.
Bob Glynn Dean Jr., 68, was already facing state and federal penalties for cramming his residents into a facility in the town of Independence, about 110 miles northwest of New Orleans. There, authorities said they found sick and elderly people bedridden on mattresses on the floor, some screaming for help, others lying in their own waste. Some had arrived without their medication, according to a doctor. Several civil lawsuits against Dean’s company said the toilets weren’t working at the warehouse and there was too little food and water.
Dean was in custody in Tangipahoa Parish on Wednesday, facing charges of Medicaid fraud, cruelty to the infirm and obstruction of justice. Dean’s attorney did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
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Attorney General Jeff Landry said the criminal charges stem from allegations that Dean billed Medicaid for dates his residents failed to receive proper care at the warehouse “and engaged in conduct intended to intimidate or hinder public health officials and law enforcement.”
In the days following the Ida coup on August 29, the state reported the deaths of seven people who had been evacuated to the warehouse in the town of Independence. Five have been classified as storm-related fatalities.
Dean then lost the state licenses for his seven facilities. In May, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was barring Dean from receiving federal funding, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Ida landed last August when one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the United States, knocking out power throughout New Orleans, blowing roofs off buildings and reversing the flow of the Mississippi River as it rushed from the coast into a major industrial corridor. Ida’s landfall with winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) also marked the first time in recorded history that a state had consecutive years of winds of 150 mph or more.
At the warehouse where Dean residents were taken, state officials said conditions deteriorated rapidly during the storm. The generators used to provide electricity sometimes broke down. Residents were close at a time when the state was calling for social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some went without food for hours.
Dean’s nursing homes were River Palms Nursing and Rehab and Maison Orleans Healthcare Center in New Orleans; South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab in Lafourche Parish; Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home, West Jefferson Health Care Center, and Maison DeVille Nursing home of Harvey, in Jefferson Parish; and the Maison DeVille retirement home in the parish of Terrebonne.
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