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Governor Dayton Proposes Legislation to End Elder Abuse

ST. PAUL, MN – Based on the recommendations of an independent work group convened by AARP Minnesota and a recent report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA), Governor Mark Dayton was joined by legislators and advocates today to announce a broad set of reforms and investments to hold providers guilty of abuse accountable and protect the health, safety, and dignity of seniors and vulnerable adults. The proposal, co-authored by Republicans and Democrats in the House (HF3468)and Senate (SF3088), would invest $14.9 million to protect the health and safety of Minnesotans in privately-owned residential care facilities. In recent years, allegations of abuse at privately-owned residential care facilities for older and vulnerable adults have increased more than 50 percent, reaching 24,100 total complaints last year alone.

Will Phillips, Director of AARP Minnesota, says this bipartisan proposal would address three key areas.

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Following reports of neglect and abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state, Governor Dayton called on AARP Minnesota in November to establish an independent work group to study the problem and make recommendations that could be acted upon this legislative session. In assembling the work group, AARP Minnesota drew on the experiences of Minnesota seniors and their families, as well as the expertise of other consumer-focused senior organizations, including Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota, the Elder Justice Center, and Elder Voice Family Advocates. At the end of January, the work group released their final recommendations,which, along with the recently released report from the OLA, have informed these proposals and the work of Governor Dayton’s Administration.

Phillips adds that elder abuse is not something we should ever just accept.

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Together, the reductions in unreviewed complaints and pending investigations mark an 88 percent reduction in the overall backlog of abuse complaints for older and vulnerable adults at private care facilities in Minnesota. Thanks to aggressive action taken by MDH and DHS, an interim system to electronically process complaints was implemented in February 2018, helping OHFC to more efficiently review the over 400 new complaints of elder abuse it receives each week.