The Iowa Attorney General’s Office asked the Iowa Workforce Department (IWD) last week to release the names of caregivers fired for abuse in nursing homes throughout the state.
Last August, some of the judges who preside over public hearings on unemployment benefit issues relied on a controversial interpretation of a 17-year-old law to seal the names of abusers, as well as other parties involved nursing home abuse incidents.
The Des Moines Register reported that sealing the names worked against a public policy of openness in government, said reporter Clark Kauffman, who routinely attempted to access agency records.
Following the newspaper reports, IWD asked the attorney general’s office to interpret the law’s requirements. Attorney General Tom Miller’s reinterpretation of the law allows the IWD to release the names of claimants involved in pending investigations, said Kerry Koonce, a spokeswoman for the IWD. However, the major details of the alleged abuse incidents still must be redacted from reports until an official opinion is released, she said.