WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst are asking the Justice Department to explain the penalties against an Iowa nursing home that was ordered closed and ordered to pay $100,000 to federal taxpayers over “grossly substandard care” that was essentially “without value.”  Grassley and Ernst said The Abbey of Le Mars was on a federal watch list for two years during the Obama Administration because of concerns about care.

“Given that it was a problem-prone facility, the Justice Department, as well as other agencies, need to explain why such outrageous abuse of patients was allowed to occur and what steps will be taken to ensure that this conduct will not go unpunished,” Grassley and Ernst wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Grassley and Ernst asked a series of questions about when the Justice Department began looking into the facility; whether it coordinated with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; how it arrived at the $100,000 False Claims Act settlement and whether an additional $360,000 in fines will be paid separately; how long the facility provided services deemed essentially “without value;” what monitoring is involved when a nursing home is on a federal watch list; and what other steps the previous administration took to “ensure that those engaging in the aforementioned conduct were held to account.” 

Grassley and Ernst said holding the nation’s nursing homes accountable to federal safety standards is critical to the health and well-being of nursing home residents as well as ensuring taxpayer value for the billions of dollars spent on nursing home care.

The Grassley-Ernst letter is available here.