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One thing that’s obvious from Gov. Dayton’s proposal to prevent elder care abuse is that he isn’t willing to admit that his administration didn’t do its job.

Included in Gov. Dayton’s proposal are “streamlin[ing] reports of abuse, increase licensing requirements for long-term care facilities and strengthen penalties for those who hurt seniors and vulnerable adults.” Nowhere is it mentioned that the Dayton administration failed its oversight responsibilities. State Sen. Karin Housley noticed:

“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,” said Housley, who chairs the Senate long-term care committee and has her own legislative proposals. “While many of the working group recommendations are incorporated into my legislation, it will not ignore the critical oversight role played by the state.”

Later, Sen. Housley issued this 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.

Here’s the tape of Housley’s press conference on her new bill:

Follow this link to read the Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act. The first question from the press asked what disappointed Sen. Housley about Gov. Dayton’s proposal. Here’s her reply:

SEN. HOUSLEY: I felt it was a one-sided — he appointed his working group. I admire and I’ve listened to everyone in that working group from AARP to Elder Justice to Elder Voices. It was just one side and you also have the huge problem within the OHFC and that wasn’t addressed and that is his administration and that is where he failed. I know that Sheila van Pelt has been emailing the government since 2013, the governor and his administration trying to get answers on why she wasn’t getting answers so to not look in the mirror is disappointing.

Gov. Dayton’s administration failed to investigate these abuses. According to the OLA report, they didn’t even put a plan in place to investigate. After the crisis was exposed, Gov. Dayton’s proposal didn’t include anything to hold his administration accountable.

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