In response to Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to combat elder abuse in Minnesota, Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point), chairwoman of the Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee, issued the following statement:
“While the governor and I share the same goal of making sure elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans are cared for with dignity and respect, I believe his proposal falls well short and ignores many of the realities of the problem. Nearly all the governor’s recommendations come from his handpicked working group, which I believe only reflect one side of an extremely emotional, complex situation. In fact, the governor’s proposal does not consider any of the recommendations of the senior care facilities, which were almost entirely left out of the conversation.
“Instead of taking responsibility for the shortcomings and negligence of his own state agencies – one of the main drivers of this issue – the governor placed the blame wholly on the care providers. Despite a well-documented culture of intimidation and neglect that prevented the governor’s Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) from serving its function, the governor refuses to accept accountability for the failings of the executive branch. The many hardworking care providers across Minnesota depend on the OHFC for oversight, but it did not live up to its end of the bargain.
“I will be introducing legislation tomorrow that I believe moves us in the right direction and brings all stakeholders to the table. While many of the working group recommendations are incorporated into my legislation, it will not ignore the critical oversight role played by the state. I have been working on this issue for over a year, bringing all stakeholders to the table and searching for a solution that works for all – and those conversations have virtually all pointed toward an urgent need to fix the OHFC.
“I look forward to working with the governor’s office, my colleagues, and stakeholders in passing substantive change this session.”
Senator Karin Housley is in her second term representing Senate District 39, which includes Stillwater, Forest Lake, Lake Elmo, and other communities in Chisago and Washington counties. She serves as chairwoman of the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee.