Proposal for more fines, more frequent inspections responds to flood of complaints.
The administration of Gov. Tim Walz is proposing a dramatic expansion of the state’s powers to fight abuse and neglect of elderly and frail Minnesotans who live in care facilities across the state.
The multi-pronged proposal, outlined Tuesday in Walz’s two-year budget plan, would subject care facilities to more frequent inspections and immediate fines in cases of health and safety violations. The state would also create a licensing system for assisted-living homes, which now serve more than 60,000 Minnesotans but operate under less supervision than nursing homes.
If approved, the package would cost $62.5 million over four years and would represent the broadest expansion of consumer protections for vulnerable adults in Minnesota in generations. It would also bring Minnesota’s enforcement powers more in line with the rest of the country, at a time when reports of maltreatment are on the rise statewide. Records show Minnesota had fallen behind other states in its regulation of programs and facilities for vulnerable adults.
“This is transformational change in how we ensure the safety and security of vulnerable adults across the state,” Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey said. “It’s really about engaging the voices of consumers … and listening to family members of vulnerable adults, who have watched and seen that our … efforts have not been enough.”
By Chris Serres Star Tribune | FEBRUARY 21, 2019 — 10:00PM