Louisiana health officer orders immediate closure of seven nursing homes

Staff Report
Paramedics evacuate nursing home residents Sept. 2 from a mass shelter in Independence, where they had been taken in advance of Hurricane Ida.

Pending further regulatory action, Louisiana Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter has ordered the immediate closure of the seven nursing homes that evacuated to Independence on Aug. 27 ahead of Hurricane Ida.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Department of Health have been investigating the deaths of nursing home residents who were moved to a Waterbury Companies Inc. warehouse in Independence.

The seven facilities that evacuated patients to the Independence facility include:

  • River Palms Nursing and Rehab, Orleans Parish
  • South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab, Lafourche Parish
  • Maison Orleans Healthcare Center, Orleans Parish
  • Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home, Jefferson Parish
  • West Jefferson Health Care Center, Jefferson Parish
  • Maison DeVille Nursing Home, Terrebonne Parish
  • Maison DeVille Nursing Home of Harvey, Jefferson Parish
Courtney Phillips is shown in a file photo.

“What happened in Independence is reprehensible, and I know there are many families hurting as a result,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney N. Phillips. “Today’s action against these facilities is needed. There is more to come. Our Department’s mission is to advance the health and wellbeing of our residents — and that includes our vulnerable nursing home residents.”

Dr. Joe Kanter, state health officer, is shown in a file photo from January.

“The lack of regard for these vulnerable residents' wellbeing is an affront to human dignity. We have lost trust in these nursing homes to provide adequate care for their residents. We are taking immediate action today to protect public health,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s State Health Officer.

Upon hearing reports of deteriorating conditions at the facility after Hurricane Ida made landfall, LDH inspectors promptly visited the site but were expelled from the property and prevented from conducting a full assessment on Aug. 31.

In addition, LDH team members were subject to intimidation by the owner of the seven nursing facilities.

On Sept. 1, in collaboration with multiple state agencies and local officials, LDH began evacuating nursing home residents, starting with the most vulnerable, and by end of day had rescued the vast majority. By Thursday, all nursing home residents had been evacuated from the facility.

LDH has now confirmed seven deaths of nursing home residents evacuated to the Independence facility, five of which have been classified as storm-related.

Individuals looking for loved ones evacuated from one of the seven nursing homes should call 211, which is coordinating with LDH’s Office of Aging and Adult Services which directly helps to connect families. Since standing up the hotline via 211, LDH has connected with more than 200 families of nursing home residents who evacuated to the Independence facility. Also, LDH is proactively reaching out to families of nursing home residents.