Owner Held After Sending Elderly to Warehouse in Storm

More than 800 nursing home residents were found in squalor after hurricane struck
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2022 4:51 PM CDT
Nursing Homes' Owner Charged With Cruelty During Ida
Emergency personnel arrive to evacuate people at a mass shelter in Independence, La., on Sept. 2 after Hurricane Ida struck.   (Chris Granger/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

(Newser) – The owner of seven Louisiana nursing homes who sent more than 800 of his elderly residents to a crowded, ill-equipped warehouse to ride out Hurricane Ida last year was arrested Wednesday on fraud and cruelty charges arising from the squalid conditions. Bob Glynn Dean Jr., 68, was already facing state and federal sanctions for crowding his residents into a facility in the town of Independence, roughly 70 miles northwest of New Orleans, the AP reports. There, authorities said they found ill and elderly bedridden people on mattresses on the floor, some crying for help, some lying in their own waste. Some had arrived without their medicine, a doctor said. Multiple civil suits against Dean's corporation said that toilets didn't work at the warehouse and that there was too little food and water.

On Wednesday, Dean was in custody in Tangipahoa Parish, 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. Attorney General Jeff Landry said the criminal charges stem from allegations that Dean billed Medicaid for dates his residents were not receiving proper care at the warehouse "and engaged in conduct intended to intimidate or obstruct public health officials and law enforcement." In the days after Ida hit, last Aug. 29, the state reported the deaths of seven people who had been evacuated to the warehouse in the town of Independence. Five were classified as storm-related deaths.

Dean later lost the state licenses for his seven facilities. In May, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced it was prohibiting Dean from receiving federal funding, including Medicare and Medicaid. At the warehouse where Dean's residents were taken, state officials said conditions had deteriorated quickly in the storm. Generators used to provide power failed at times. Residents were in close quarters at a time when the state was urging social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some went without food for hours.

(Read more nursing homes stories.)

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