1/13/2013 1:43:00 PM Two "View" units shut down;
Case is in Court of Appeals
by Ken Haggerty
Two of the three "View" senior living homes in Cannon Falls were closed and residents were moved out over the last few weeks as orders of revocation of adult foster care licenses from the Minnesota Department of Human Services went into effect in late-December.
The revocation orders were appealed by the license holder, Leon Hanson, on December 19 in the Minnesota Court of Appeals. That case was still pending as of January 8.
The case stems back to June 2010, when the Department of Human Services first issued orders of correction for a series of violations, mostly tied to required procedures and paperwork involving medication, patient care and employee management.
In March of 2011, the DHS put the licenses under a one-year conditional status, calling the violations serious and chronic. In March of 2012, the orders of revocation were issued. Appeals made by Hanson within the DHS were rejected in October and November of 2012.
The three adjacent "View" buildings are designed to host five senior residents each in individual suites with shared common areas. They are located in a residential neighborhood just off of Goodhue County Highway 17 on the eastern edge of the Cannon Falls city limits. Service provided to the residents include assistance with meals, dressing, medication and mobility. The units went up from 2007-2009.
Occupancy has been good at the residences and some family members responded to the Beacon to say they are more than satisfied with the care of their relatives. An employee of the View also wrote to defend the level of care.
In a memorandum attached to a November DHS decision, it is noted that Hanson says structural, staffing and operational changes he has implemented have brought the facilities into compliance. The memorandum says that Hanson claims all residents' files are complete, medication is administered in accordance with licensing requirements, that all staff have completed required training and that Goodhue County is being informed of any staffing changes.
The County maintains revocation is the appropriate outcome, noting on-going deficiencies in compliance at both facilities based on an on-site inspection in early November.
A memorandum attached to the MnDHS October 10, 2012 decision acknowledged that the hiring of a registered nurse to manage programs had made significant strides to address deficiencies, but that those efforts were not sufficient to warrant reversal, and that not all programs were in compliance.
The October 10, 2012 memorandum also addressed Hanson's contention that residents have been well cared for, that no actual maltreatment has been alleged, and that revocation is too severe a sanction for violations that are primarily paperwork deficiencies.
The MnDHS October, 2012 memorandum says that Hanson's focus on the absence of alleged maltreatment is misplaced. "Licensing actions are taken for the purpose of avoiding such harm," it says, noting the importance of medication management information records.
"The provider was given extensive opportunities to comply with regulations and did not," said Jerry Kerber, DHS inspector general. "Violations cited would not accurately be described as mere paperwork. This provider continued to violate some basic licensing requirements that are in place to protect people with disabilities and people who, due to aging are unable to care for themselves," said Kerber.
State Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, says he has heard from family members of View residents who are upset with the State's actions. "It's very unfortunate we let our regulations and guidelines get in the way of common sense," said Kelly. "I'm not trying to diminish the reasons we have policies and regulations enforced, but I think we may have followed them without looking at the big picture."
The license of "The View I" is also subject to revocation as it is held by Hanson as well, according to a DHS spokesperson.