March 19, 2018 03:57 PM
More than 50 advocates from the Alzheimer's Association rallied at the State Capitol Monday in support of senior care reform in Minnesota.
The rally comes amid scrutiny that has seen the Minnesota Department of Health and the Office of Health Facility Complaints criticized for the state's failures to keep up with maltreatment complaints at senior care centers. The Alzheimer's Association is now backing a proposal released by a bipartisan team of lawmakers.
The legislation unveiled last Tuesday would use nearly $15 million of the state's budget surplus to streamline reporting of abuse and neglect, allowing the Office of Health Facility Complaints to analyze incoming complaints to isolate trends or widespread issues.
It also calls for a new licensing framework for assisted living centers and dementia care facilities — which are currently only licensed for home care services — and to impose stricter penalties on employees found to have threatened or abused seniors.
Beth McMullen, vice president of government affairs for the Alzheimer's Association, said the group's efforts with AARP, Elder Voice and Legal Aid are keeping senior care in the spotlight at the Capitol.
"We've created quite a bit of momentum behind our policy issues," McMullen said. "The Legislature, both the House and the Senate, are talking about these issues."
McMullen and dozens of advocates spent the day meeting with lawmakers to discuss potential legislation that would help stop elder abuse.
"We're feeling positive about what's going to happen this session, that we will see some changes," McMullen said.
Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton said he accepted blame for the regulatory lapses under his administration that allowed maltreatment of some of Minnesota's most vulnerable adults, saying fixing the state's oversight was one of his top priorities for his final year in office.
Updated: March 19, 2018 03:57 PM
Created: March 19, 2018 12:25 PM
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