A state lawmaker says while the discovery of 21 men living in poor conditions in a boarding house in Atalisa was not a good thing, some positive things are developing out of it as the state takes steps to better safeguard and identify those who need help. Representative Lisa Heddens, a Democrat from Ames, says the on-line registry for boarding home operators is one example. The registry was demonstrated Tuesday and Heddens says it will offer lots of good information for legislators.
She says it will show the services that are available, who is providing the services, their locations and type of services. Heddens says it will also show gaps in service and the types of training and regulatory initiatives, and she says that will help drive policy for lawmakers. Heddens is co-chair of the House subcommittee that deals with the Health and Human Services budget for the state. She says the registry should also help the general public.
Heddens says there are different types of protocols for different industries and families want to see more about where their loved ones are residing, the regulations and their rights and the oversight of the facilities. The state is requiring administrators to register if they run homes providing rooms to three or more people who are not close relatives, and the residents require others to provide them with food, medication and other support. Heddens says Iowa is not alone in trying to get a handle on these issue.
“I know from what has occurred here in Iowa has caused other states.. to look at it as well, saying we don’t know how many boarding homes are in our state, how do we go about regulating them or even finding them,” Heddens says. Boarding homes will be required to provide the information through the website registration or via paper filing by March first. The information is expected to be made available to the public in the coming weeks.