Legislative probe uncovered widespread issues that require "immediate action."
The idea for a legislative auditor’s review of the Office of Health Facility Complaints came out of some grass-roots efforts by a group of abuse victims and their family members, seated at a State Capitol office.
The state agency charged with preventing abuse in senior care homes is plagued by severe dysfunction, chronic delays and a chaotic work environment that has hindered timely and effective investigations, according to a forthcoming report by Minnesota’s legislative auditor.
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At a meeting with Dibble, a group of relatives of abuse victims known as Elder Voice Family Advocates expressed frustration with the OHFC’s mishandling of their complaints. They told Dibble their complaints often went ignored and that, even when the state did investigate, the details of investigations were kept secret from the victims and their relatives.
Kay Bromelkamp, one of the advocates present, recounted how it took nearly four months for the state to verify that her mother was verbally and emotionally abused even though much of the abuse was captured by a hidden camera placed in her mother’s room. By the time the state released its report, Bromelkamp’s mother had already died at the assisted-living facility where she had been abused.
“I still wonder if that report had come out sooner … whether my mom would have gotten better and would still be alive today,” said Bromelkamp, who lives in Minneapolis. “These delays have a real human impact.”
By Chris Serres Star Tribune FEBRUARY 17, 2018 — 5:00PM