NEWS 3.4.21: Woodbury County C19 Update, Former Plastic Surgeon Surrenders License, and More

Mar 4, 2021

Credit coronavirus.iowa.gov

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported three more deaths due to COVID-19 in Woodbury County for 214 in all since the start of the pandemic. Statewide there were 35 additional deaths reported in 24-hours and more than 550 new positive tests.

Credit Siouxland District Health

There are currently outbreaks at a dozen long-term care facilities in Iowa, with none in northwest Iowa.

Siouxland District Health says there are still openings available for a vaccination clinic planned for Monday. Appointments have been reserved for people with disabilities who receive treatment at home, plus their care staff.

Siouxland DIstrict's Kevin Grieme
Credit Siouxland District Health

In an interview with morning with the head of Siouxland District Health, Kevin Grieme estimates 20% of Woodbury County residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, with 4.5% receiving both.

He says even though the number of cases has fallen people still need to follow health guidelines, including wearing masks.

“We just have to ask people to continue with it when we better assurances that this is all under control. This is going to take a few months.”

Grieme says workers at meat packing plants will recieve vaccines soon and clinic is being planned for the Mary J. Community House, an ogranization assisting members of the immigrant community in Sioux City.

A former Sioux City plastic surgeon agreed to give up his medical license in Iowa to settle charges brought forward by the Iowa Board of Medicine.

Adam Smith

Dr. Adam Smith faced allegations by the Board for failing to provide appropriate surgical care to 17 patients. At least four of his former patients reached out to Siouxland Public Media to say Dr. Smith botched their surgeries.

The Iowa Board of Medicine put out a news release yesterday about the update. It says Smith surrendered his license last month. The settlement says Smith’s action is not an admission of guilt.

Smith surrendered his medical license in South Dakota in September of 2019.

News release from the Iowa Board of Medicine:

A 40-year-old Iowa-licensed physician who formerly practiced plastic surgery in Sioux City, Iowa, entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Iowa Board on February 18, 2021. On July 18, 2019, the Board filed a Statement of Charges against Dr. Smith alleging that he failed to provide appropriate surgical care to seventeen patients in Sioux City, Iowa, between December 2014 and September 2017, including, but not limited to, the following aspects of care: patient selection; surgical choice; informed consent; surgical execution; surgical judgement and decision making; postoperative care; excessive narcotics, anxiolytics and/or hypnotics prescribing; medical record keeping; and coding and billing practices. On November 19, 2020, the Iowa Board filed an Amended Statement of Charges further alleging that Dr. Smith’s South Dakota medical license was suspended due the suspension of Dr. Smith’s clinical privileges. Under the terms of the February 18, 2021, Settlement Agreement, Dr. Smith voluntarily surrendered his Iowa medical license to resolve this matter.

Sioux City Police investigating a stabbing that happened early this morning near 16th and Grandview Boulevard. The man went to the hospital in serious condition.

The police department and Sioux City Fire Rescue also investigating three fires that broke out in the Riverside neighborhood of Sioux City late last night. No one was hurt. However, the fires appear to be intentionally set.

Republican lawmakers didn’t advance Governor Kim Reynolds’ policing bill this week ahead of a legislative deadline. Reynolds’ bill sought to increase protections for police, punish cities that reduce police funding, raise penalties for protest-related crimes, and ban racial profiling. 

Senate Republicans advanced most of those policies, but NOT the proposed ban on racial profiling. A House committee approved a police protections bill with some bipartisan support.

House Speaker Pat Grassley was asked why Republicans didn’t advance the racial profiling ban.

“In our conversations with law enforcement, it was going to be very difficult in how that would be implemented. And that doesn’t mean—session doesn’t end when the first funnel ends. There’s going to be continued conversation around a lot of issues that may not have made it through the first funnel.”  

Democrats in the Black Legislative Caucus are calling on Republican leaders to take up the anti-racial profiling legislation. Reynolds’ office didn’t respond to a request for comment this afternoon (Thursday).

News release from the Iowa Insurance Division:

Des Moines, Iowa - Stephanie Lynn Rink, age 32, of Remsen, has been charged with one count of Insurance Fraud - Presenting False Information (Class D Felony) following an investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau.  

Stephanie Lynn Rink
Credit Plymouth County Jail

The charge against Rink stems from an investigation which began in March of 2020. According to a criminal complaint filed by the Iowa Insurance Fraud Bureau, Rink was involved in a motor vehicle collision in June of 2019. Rink was later involved in a second collision in August of 2019. After the August 2019 collision, Rink provided false information to her insurance company indicating damage from the June 2019 collision had been repaired, when it had not, in order to obtain additional insurance benefits to which she would not have otherwise been entitled.

On February 25, 2021, Rink was arrested and booked into the Plymouth County Jail and later released after posting a $5,000 bond. Trial will be set for a future date. No additional details will be provided at this time.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has offered her opinion that the Legislature could easily convene to consider impeaching the state’s attorney general for his role in a fatal car crash. But her opinion puts her at odds with the Republican lawmaker overseeing the proceedings. The procedural conflict touches on rules in the state constitution that are unclear. Republican House Speaker Spencer Gosch says the Legislature would need support from two-thirds of both chambers to convene outside the regularly scheduled legislative session. But Noem says legislative leaders could simply call lawmakers back to Pierre.

Family members of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem received more than $600,000 in funds from a state grant program pushed by the governor that directed federal coronavirus relief funds to small businesses. Records on the grant program show a ranch belonging to Noem’s family received one payment of $500,000. Also, a business operated by her brothers, Rock and Robb Arnold, received a payment of just over $100,000. Noem once maintained part-ownership of the ranch, but her office says she no longer does. The ranch pays rent for some farmland Noem owns.

This year is shaping up to be drier than normal throughout the Missouri River basin, and the risk of flooding is generally below normal throughout the region because conditions remain dry and snowpack levels are below average. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday officials expect only about 84% of the normal amount of water will flow down the Missouri River this year. The Corps said it has increased the amount of water flowing out of Gavins Point Dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border slightly, but the river remains at a low level heading into spring.