Federal Report Says State DHS ‘Lacks Routine Oversight’ Over Adult Care Centers

June 15, 2018 01:43 PM

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report found Minnesota’s Department of Human Services did not comply with federal and state requirements in overseeing adult day care centers.

Those centers serve vulnerable Minnesotans.

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In the report, released at the end of May, federal investigators found 200 instances of health, safety and administrative violations at 20 centers inspected during 2017. 

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They included a knife left on a counter, chemicals left within reach and dirty and dingy conditions.

Eight counties were visited in all.

"I’m very disappointed, saddened, shocked,” said State Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka.

“These are people who need the services. You never had a report where 100 percent came out bad."

Minnesota DHS Inspector General Carolyn Ham sent her own inspectors out after receiving the federal report and issued corrective orders to 14 of the 20 centers. Two were issued conditional licenses and two centers closed. Two did not have violations at the time the inspectors went out.

RELATED: Investigation Shows Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults at Residence Facility

"We don't think the 20 sampled here are representative at all of the adult day centers in the state of Minnesota," said Ham, who added the study was not random.  

"Any time we have a health and safety violation, we are going to be concerned," Ham said. "They are vulnerable adults, and we want to make sure they are going to be safe."

Minnesota’s state statue says DHS may inspect all 104 adult care centers in the state every two years, but it does not happen, according to the department.

DHS uses six employees to inspect, but it's not their only job duty. So the department said their work equates to two full-time employees.

“The increase has been so recent ...really… 2016 and 2017...not as though this has been growing for the last five years...it's just been a sudden jump," Ham said.

Ham’s said investigators get to 85 percent of the adult day centers in a two-year period. And they plan to ask the legislature for more money to hire more staff.

But that was not enough to satisfy some.

"If I was a department head, I'd make sure my staff didn't get Saturday off and we're going to get this squared away," Abeler said. "Instead I hear no sense of urgency."

You can find inspection reports on adult care facilities on the DHS website.

*Editor's Note: An earlier version of the story said Minnesota law requires the DHS to inspect all adult day care facilities in two years as the report stated. However, state statutes say DHS may inspect adult care centers in the state every two years. The story has been updated to reflect this change.

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Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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