GOP rejects Senate Democrats’ call for investigation of nursing home industry

DES MOINES — A top Republican in the Iowa Senate says a Government Oversight Committee investigation of Iowa’s nursing home industry would be a distraction for state officials who inspect the facilities.

Senate President Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, says in the past 12 months the state issued over 2800 citations for abuse and neglect that state inspectors found in nursing homes and an investigation would distract from that important work.

Senate Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum of Dubuque say an investigation by the legislators would shed light on troubling reports of inhumane situations in some Iowa nursing homes.  “As legislators, we have also received numerous emails and phone calls from our constituents who have expressed to us concerns about the care of their loved ones in nursing facilities in their communities,” Jochum says. “This is a very serious issue and we must act now to address it.” Senate Democrats say they will push to increase state funding for home based care and for hiring more nursing home inspectors.

A spokesman for Governor Kim Reynolds says while Reynolds has been governor, she’s approved boosting Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing home care by a total of $165 MILLION and initiated other state programs to train health care workers.

Kollin Crompton, the governor’s deputy communications director, says the governor believes that is the path to resolving the workforce shortage in nursing homes.