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Branstad Backs DHS in Probe of Abuse of Mentally Disabled Patients

Joyce Russell/IPR
Gov. Terry Branstad. Branstad held his weekly news conference at Central Campus of Des Moines Public Schools

Governor Branstad says the investigation continues into the abuse of patients at the state-run Glenwood Resource Center in western Iowa. 

But he says he will not second-guess the Department of Human Services for not reprimanding supervisors at the facility which cares for patients with profound mental disabilities.

The majority of employees are hard-working, conscientious people

Six employees were fired and others were disciplined for physically and verbally abusing patients, but that did not include managers.

“I believe that the department has taken the action they believe is appropriate at this point in time,” Branstad said at his weekly news conference.  “If there’s additional action that should be taken, I’m certain they’ll do what needs to be done.”

According to a report by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, workers called residents derogatory terms and taunted them about their disabilities.

The governor was asked how a culture of abuse was allowed at the facility.

“That's a good question and that's the reason why significant changes have been already made,” Branstad said.  “They've added additional supervisors, I think, on the evenings and weekends.”  

Significant changes have been made

Branstad says most employees at Glenwood do a good job.

“But you had a few that didn't and they were able to basically convince others to keep that secret,” Branstad said.   “Eventually that was discovered and action has been taken to dismiss those people."

Branstad said State Ombudsman’s office is continuing to investigate.