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One housing unit closed at state-run facility for intellectually disabled

GLENWOOD — A house at the Glenwood Resource Center has been closed and the head of the state agency that oversees the facility says other units are being consolidated, to better manage staffing levels. The facility that cares for patients with intellectual disabilities is Glenwood’s largest employer. Department of Human Resources director Kelly Garcia said her agency got extra money a year ago to hire more staff.

“Despite our best efforts, we were unable to fill a bit more than a dozen employees that are direct care workers,” Garcia said.

Eight patients were in the housing unit that closed. Garcia said one “transitioned to the community” and the other seven were transferred to Woodward Resource Center, the other state-run facility that cares full-time for patients with intellectual disabilities.

“That was planned for many months,” Garcia said, “and that was really to offset staffing levels at Glenwood that we have been unable to fill in the last year.”

In December, the U.S. Justice Department announced its investigation of Glenwood concluded the constitutional rights of patients had been violated by inadequate health care and their forced participation in “deviant” human experiments. Garcia took over as DHS director in late 2019 and three weeks later the state was notified of the federal investigation into operations at Glenwood.

“We don’t have any other closures and moved planned at this time, but we are constantly evaluating,” Garcia said. “We received our draft consent decree from the feds. I’m not able to share it. It is confidential in nature, but we are continuing to look at what our path forward looks like for Glenwood.”

A consent decree in this case would be an agreement between the State of Iowa and the federal government. The U.S. Justice Department investigation, released December 20, 2020, found “reasonable cause” that Glenwood residents had been subjected to “unreasonable harm.” The department’s Civil Rights Division indicated it had given state officials a list of steps to address what it had uncovered at Glenwood.

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