The Star Tribune published an article today by reporter Brad Schrade, entitled Minnesota Families Demand Voice in Nursing Home Inquiries. The article focuses on the failure of the Minnesota Department of Health and its Office of Health Facility Complaints’ (OHFC) to adequately involve Minnesota victims and/or their families in the investigation process. The article reports that the OHFC receives about 12,000 complaints and self-reported incidents each year, that less than ten percent of those 12,000 complaints are actually investigated, of which only about one in four result in a finding of maltreatment or other violations. (The article does not provide data on how often nursing home’s appeal those violations, or how often the violations are reduced or overturned through the appeal process.)
Often times, the victim or family members are reliable sources of information regarding what happened leading up to the complaint. The article quotes Mark Kosieradzki, who describes a current case in which one of our clients was not even aware the state investigated the inquiry. The MDH report concluded there was no neglect thirteen months after the injury occurred. As Kosieradzki points out, “The investigator’s conclusion contradicts the sworn testimony and the evidence.” We have a motion currently pending in Hennepin County District Court asking the Court to order the MDH to produce copies of the interviews conducted by its investigator.
In addition to inadequately involving families in the investigative process, the article addresses policy changes that have led to streamlined, shorter investigation reports. These public reports omit core facts that often matter to families and their advocates. In the article, Kosieradzki states, “I think it’s very troublesome if a report is not listed to a date, listed to documents, listed with witnesses interviewed, listed with facts. I’m very troubled by it. It raises a question of the validity of the finding either way.”
If you believe your loved one has been harmed due to a nursing home’s neglect or abuse, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.