March 13, 2018 03:03 PM
Lawmakers are reviewing a new report from the Office of the Minnesota Legislative Auditor that found the state’s Office of Health Facility Complaints has not been meeting its responsibilities to protect vulnerable adults.
The report, presented in a hearing Tuesday, found the OHFC has not met required deadlines for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and maltreatment.
Between fiscal years 2012 and 2017, the report found the number of allegation reports OHFC received increased by more than 50 percent, reaching 24,100 in fiscal year 2017.
However, OHFC triaged for onsite investigation only 5 percent of the reports it received that year.
“OHFC does not have an office-wide system in which its supervisors can monitor the progress of cases or the workload of staff,” the report read. “Office leadership told us that they do not know the current size of investigators’ caseloads, and they do not assign cases with respect to investigators’ current workload.”
The report also faulted the office for poor management.
Among the findings:
“High staff turnover, few written policies, and a lack of confidence in senior leadership reflect a dysfunctional office culture,” the report read.
The report was presented to state lawmakers Tuesday morning.
Among the recommendations called for:
Minnesota health commissioner Jan Malcolm issued a statement in response to the report's findings.
It read in part:
“We have publicly acknowledged that in recent years, OHFC has not met Minnesotans' expectations for investigating maltreatment complaints in a timely way. Since December 2017, we have made significant progress on many of the concerns cited in the OLA's evaluation. Just last week, we announced completing a triage review of all 2,321 reports in our backlog. Our investigation backlog has been reduced by about half – from over 800 cases down to around 400 as of last week.
“Our progress in reducing and eliminating the backlogs has come thanks in no small part to our inter-agency partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Through this framework, DHS has provided the services of their Office of Continuous Improvement and Office of Inspector General staff to work with MDH staff on process and system improvement.”
Malcom’s statement agreed with the need for a legislative work group.
“As the report shows, it is unacceptably difficult for the people served, their families and care providers to know which services are regulated – and which are not – under what rules and by which agencies. On this point, the Governor’s workgroup comprised of consumer advocate groups made key recommendations for legislators to consider. The current laws are confusing to the public, and a legislative work group can help deliver positive reforms.”
Read the full OHFC report here.
Updated: March 13, 2018 03:03 PM
Created: March 06, 2018 11:57 AM
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