# Iowa Veterans Home

Grassley misled on state-operated veterans homes

An earlier version of this commentary appeared in The Prairie Progressive‘s fall 2021 issue.

In a media release earlier this year and a commentary published in some Iowa newspapers, Senator Chuck Grassley asserted, “it appears that the standard of care and quality controls at many state veterans homes falls well short of those required by other government supported nursing homes.” He was referencing the number of COVID-19 deaths and infections in veterans homes across the country.

How many is many? The senator’s letter to U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough cited a handful of media reports in footnotes. Although some of those articles cited statistics provided by the government, the numbers Grassley used are flawed.

Continue Reading...

Iowa Veterans Home facing yet another COVID-19 outbreak (updated)

The state-run Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown is back on COVID-19 outbreak status after four residents tested positive in recent days.

Clinical Support Director Kimberly Bratland informed relatives and guardians of residents via email on August 20 that a resident with symptoms tested positive and was transferred to a hospital. Subsequent emails reported two residents testing positive on August 22 and one on August 23; their symptoms were mild and they were moved to the home’s COVID unit. All of the affected residents live in the Malloy 2 unit of the facility, which is Iowa’s largest nursing home.

Continue Reading...

VA vaccine mandate won't apply to Iowa Veterans Home

Staff at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, where a recent COVID-19 outbreak killed two fully vaccinated residents, are not subject to a new vaccine mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced on July 26 that coronavirus vaccinations are now required for “Title 38 VA health care personnel — including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries and chiropractors — who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit VHA facilities or provide direct care to those VA serves.”

The Iowa Veterans Home is a state-run facility, but it receives some federal funding, is certified by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and has residents who use VA health care. At least 900 employees work at the Marshalltown facility, which is Iowa’s largest nursing home. Families and guardians were informed in late June that 70 percent of staff had already been vaccinated for COVID-19. That would leave more than 250 unprotected by any coronavirus vaccine.

Continue Reading...

Iowa Veterans Home leader overpaid for years before ouster

Staff in the governor’s office and Iowa Veterans Home declined to clarify why Governor Kim Reynolds fired the home’s Commandant Timon Oujiri in early May, and for months did not respond to public records requests related to Oujiri’s removal.

The mystery was revealed on July 29, when State Auditor Rob Sand released a special report showing Oujiri had received $105,412.85 in improper compensation since June 2019, including $90,027.20 of unauthorized gross wages.

Continue Reading...

Vaccinated Iowa Veterans Home resident dies of COVID-19 (updated)

This story has been updated to note that a second resident infected in the latest outbreak has died.

Two of the seven Iowa Veterans Home residents who recently contracted COVID-19 have died, the home told relatives and guardians. The first resident who passed away “was in end of life care prior to testing positive” for coronavirus, an email sent on July 2 said. The message announcing the second death on July 4 did not provide further details.

All residents and staff affected by the latest coronavirus outbreak–the fifth at the state-run facility in Marshalltown–had been living or working in the Malloy 3 unit, which “remains in isolation.” Five of the residents who tested positive in late June returned from the facility’s COVID unit to Malloy 3 last week.

According to previous emails the facility sent to relatives and guardians, the residents who became infected in late June were all vaccinated for COVID-19.

Continue Reading...

New COVID-19 outbreak hits Iowa Veterans Home

The Iowa Veterans Home is currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. Families and guardians of loved ones living at the state-run facility in Marshalltown–the largest nursing home in Iowa–were notified on June 22 that four employees and five residents had tested positive that day. All lived or worked in the same building. An email sent on June 25 indicated that another resident in the same unit (Malloy 3) had tested positive, and all six affected residents were in the home’s COVID unit.

As of June 25, the long-term care dashboard on the state’s coronavirus website was showing eight positive cases and no recoveries at the Iowa Veterans Home within the last fourteen days.

The state website doesn’t break down how many cases have been identified among staff and how many among residents, or whether anyone has been hospitalized. Emails to relatives and guardians indicated that one Iowa Veterans Home resident was hospitalized on June 23 but had returned to the home by June 25.

Continue Reading...