12/6/2012 8:21:00 PM MnDHS rejects "View" appeal; may go to court
by Ken Haggerty
Lucinda Jesson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MnDHS), upheld an affirmation of an Order of Revocation of the Adult Foster Care Licenses of The View II and The View III on November 19.
With the letter of the decision to Leon Hanson, license holder for The View facilities, it was noted that any party that feels aggrieved by a final decision is entitled to judicial review by the Court of Appeals, but that a petition must be filed within 30 days of that decision.
Also in the November 19 letter, it was noted the effective date of the revocation order "is stayed for 30 days to allow for the transition of current residents to other living situations." A request to stay the order beyond 30 days (December 19) could be made to the DHS in conjunction with a claim to the Court of Appeals.
The "View" facilities are residential senior care homes located on Larkspur Lane just off of Goodhue County 17 as it heads east out of the city of Cannon Falls.
The homes are designed to accommodate five seniors each and provide individual suite living mixed with some group areas, and care that includes meals, 24-hour staffing, and assistance with dressing, medication, and walking. Occupancy has been good at the residences and some family members responded to the Beacon, after a story appeared following an earlier licensing decision, 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.
The licenses were issued in 2008 and 2009. In June 2010, Goodhue County issued correction orders for a number of documentation and paperwork violations. Citing a failure to correct those violations, a conditional license was issued in April of 2011. The Orders of Revocation followed in March 2012 when the Department determined the licensee had failed to comply with the terms of the conditional license.
An Administrative Law Judge heard an appeal of the revocation in May, 2012 and recommended affirming the revocation. On October 10, 2012, the MnDHS affirmed the Orders of Revocation. Hanson asked for a reconsideration of that decision. The November 19 decision reaffirms the MnDHS stance.
In a memorandum attached to the November 19 decision initialed by Jesson, it is noted that Hanson says structural, staffing and operational changes he has implemented have brought the facilities into compliance and that the terms of the conditional license and objectives of the revocation are met. 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 memorandum quotes a letter from Hanson to the Commissioner as saying, "We accept that violations occurred, and I take full responsibility. The violations have been addressed, and the processes and systems are now appropriate."
The memorandum says that the County maintains revocation remains 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 MnDHS November 19 memorandum from the Commissioner says, "License holders must demonstrate that they can be trusted to fully comprehend and apply the applicable requirements for licensure, in the absence of constant oversight. The record here establishes a significant and lengthy breach of the trust relationship."
"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.
According to a MnDHS spokesperson, the View I license, also held by Hanson, would be subject to revocation as well by State Statute concerning license holders.