Grassley calls for investigation into Ottumwa Regional Center after assault allegations

After the alleged assault of nine female patients by a nurse practitioner, Sen. Chuck Grassley continues to push for transparency of private investment in healthcare centers.


Jerod Ringwald

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, answers questions during a visit to the County Materials Corporation in Iowa City as part of Grassley’s Johnson County stop on his 99 County Tour. “We’ve appropriated money every year for infrastructure,” Grassley said while talking about infrastructure improvements since 1956. “The only thing is we never used the word infrastructure, we always said highway,” Grassley joked.

Liam Halawith, Politics Editor

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked private investors in the Ottumwa Regional Health Center Monday to review their financial transactions with the hospital.

Grassley wrote a letter to the investors of the 217-bed hospital in Wapello County asking for an independent review of their financial transactions after a series of acquisitions, mergers, and multi-million dollar transactions.

The hospital was recently part of a $57 million transaction and was acquired by its current ownership in 2009, according to the Ottumwa Courier.

Grassley wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services to finalize new administrative rules regarding transparency requirements in the sale, acquisition and merging of private hospitals.

“When I see the type of tragic lapses that occurred at Ottumwa Regional…it raises serious questions with respect to whether these hospitals have the right resources or if they are being loaded with overwhelming amounts of debt to the point where they are forced to shift money away from patient care,” Grassley wrote in the letter to investors at Ottumwa Regional Healthcare Center. “When multiple financial transactions involving the same hospital systems occur, patients can get lost in the equation.”

It was reported that nine patients were also sexually assaulted in 2021 and 2022 by a nurse practitioner while under general anesthesia at the same hospital.

According to the Ottumwa Courier, the sexual assaults were discovered during the investigation into the death of 27-year-old Devin Michael Caraccio, of Centerville, who worked as a nurse practitioner at the hospital.

Caraccio died of an overdose at the hospital on Oct. 15, 2022, according to the Ottumwa Police Department.