Federal investigators plan February visit to Iowa care centers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Federal officials investigating practices at two Iowa care centers say they plan to visit next month and have asked the state for extensive documents, Iowa Department of Human Services officials said Wednesday.

The state learned in November the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Glenwood Resource Center for possible violations of patient civil rights and the Woodward Resource Center for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The centers have a mission of helping people with intellectual disabilities.

Federal officials said in a letter dated Dec. 19 they want lists of former Glenwood employees, residents, grievances involving residents and charts for everyone who has died in the past year. Additional requests fill five pages and include information on use of restraints, medication errors, and behavioral treatment and training.

The officials also seek documents from Woodward and Glenwood about discharge policies and practices for transitioning residents to community-based services.

The state fired the Glenwood superintendent last month as it appeared an investigation in part centered on whether the state was violating the federal rights of residents by placing them at risk with experiments that including using residents as subjects of sexual arousal research.

Federal investigators plan to visit both centers the week of Feb. 10.

The DHS said it has signed a contract with Mark Diorio, a Virginia-based psychologist, as a consultant to help oversee operations at Glenwood.

The DHS said it will hold two town halls at Glenwood with staff and patient families next month.