Authorities said the owner of seven Louisiana nursing homes who sent more than 800 residents to a squalid warehouse with no toilets or proper medicine last year when Hurricane Ida hit the region was arrested Wednesday on state charges of fraud and cruelty.
The man, 68-year-old Bob Glynn Dean Jr., was out of state when he ordered the evacuation of residents of a nursing home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on August 26, 2021, telling staff to move everyone to a warehouse in Independence. in Waterbury, where they prepared for severe weather, according to the sworn statement.
There, residents of the nursing home faced overcrowding, the smell of urine and feces, piles of garbage, puddles of water and inadequate portions of food, the affidavit says. Seven people from nursing homes have died, according to the Louisiana Department of Health, which has revoked the licenses of seven of Mr. Dean’s facilities to operate as nursing homes. When the authorities tried to find out what happened, Mr. Ding refused to cooperate and ordered his employees to do the same, according to the arrest warrant.
Mr. Dean, who in May was forbidden Department of Health and Human Services from participating in federal health programs, on Wednesday he was charged with eight counts of abuse of people with physical disabilities, five counts of Medicaid fraud and two counts of obstruction of justice, according to the General prosecutors. Jeff Landry from Louisiana. Disability abuse, the most serious of the allegations, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Mr. Dean “refused to evict his residents from the warehouse after Hurricane Ida, issued a Medicaid bill for days when his residents were not properly cared for and engaged in activities designed to intimidate or obstruct public health and law enforcement officials,” says in Mr. Landry’s office. said in statement.
John McLindon, Mr. Dean’s lawyer, said by phone Wednesday that his client, who was scheduled to be released on $350,000 bail, “was desperate to get back to Louisiana” to help as Hurricane Ida approached.
“I just don’t understand how they can accuse him of abusing the infirm when he isn’t even around,” he said. He added that Mr. Ding’s mental health was deteriorating.
The charges come almost 10 months after Hurricane Ida made landfall in the state, making landfall as a severe Category 4 storm that destroyed the power grid and left millions without power for days, including in New Orleans.
By August 28, the day before the hurricane made landfall, most of the 827 nursing home residents in seven nursing homes had been evacuated to Waterbury and divided among its three main buildings, according to an affidavit.
Longtime residents told The New York Times last year that the warehouse was once used as a hosiery factory and later used to make aerosol cans before it got largely dark, although they said it was still sometimes used to store items from the first need.
Mr. Ding ordered the residents of the metal building to move to the concrete one because he thought it was safer, and the residents of the cinder block building were later asked to do the same, according to sworn testimony.
“This transfer of patients resulted in extremely overcrowded conditions in the large concrete building, significantly impacting the care that staff could provide to residents,” the sworn letter reads.
Waterbury soon experienced a power outage and its emergency generator went offline intermittently, further impacting employees and residents, the sworn statement said. On August 30, the Louisiana Department of Health dispatched inspectors to the warehouse.
They saw overcrowded people on mattresses placed too close together, residents “in various stages of undressing”, including in T-shirts and dirty diapers or completely naked, and a kitchen area that was next to portable toilets in a building in which there was one inch of water, the affidavit says.
The inspectors also reported “problems with infection control, piles of dirty laundry and trash, and neglect by residents and staff,” the affidavit says.
A Louisiana Department of Health inspector tried to call Mr. Dean on Aug. 30 to discuss deteriorating conditions, but he responded in profanity-filled texts that he didn’t want to talk to them.
When the inspector received the vulgar messages, she replied, “Hello Mr. Dean, did you intend to send these messages to someone else?”
“No, I didn’t,” Mr. Dean said, using expletives later in the text. He added: “You understand that you are in a conspiracy theory with the federal government.”
A day later, other inspectors came to the warehouse and saw further signs of deteriorating conditions.
One Louisiana Department of Health worker at the warehouse said nursing home staff were running around “like chickens with their heads cut off trying to take care of these people,” the sworn statement said.
Residents were not properly cleaned, given small meals, and were not provided with food options that were medically necessary, such as diabetic food, the affidavit says.
Authorities said Mr Dean ordered his staff not to transfer residents to other shelters “for fear of losing residents to other facilities.”
Mr. Dean proposed last year in interview with the WAFB in Baton Rouge that the number of deaths was not atypical.
“We only had five deaths in six days, and usually with 850 people you will have a couple a day,” he said. “So we took really good care of people.”