Right now, Minnesota is the one remaining state that does not license assisted living facilities.
A House bill calls for an end to this, but the Senate’s version of the legislation was still not scheduled for a vote, worrying advocates who have spent two years fighting for reform.
KARE 11 in Minneapolis recently posted the article “Elder abuse bill passes MN House.” According to the report, with just days left in the legislative session, groups like AARP and Elder Voice Family Advocates fear politics could once again stop actions designed to protect seniors.
Those groups and families of seniors rallied outside the House chamber in support of the bill. In addition, those families have testified repeatedly at legislative committees. They’ve told their painful stories of family members who were abused and neglected in Minnesota’s senior homes.
Two families shared a similar horror story. No one checked on one man’s father, who had died in his room. His body was neglected for seven days. The same thing happened to a woman, who died and was not checked on for at least two days.
Both political parties agree that reforming elder care is important, but they, along with Governor Mark Dayton, couldn’t agree on reforms last year. There are also a few obstacles to moving the bill through the state legislature.
First, there is a wide gap between the two sides on the amount of funding needed to begin licensing assisted living facilities. The House plan includes millions of dollars more than the plan in the Senate.
Second, Republican senators are strongly against any changes to the law that would make it easier for seniors and their families to sue facilities.
The AARP and Elder Voice support what they see as a stronger version of the bill that passed the House. However, they want both bills to get a vote because they fear if they don’t, for a second year in a row budget battles will leave seniors unprotected.
When asked who will take the blame if efforts fail, Mary Jo George with AARP said, “I hate to say it, but I do think the Senate really, a lot of this rests on the Senate.”
With thousands of new abuse and neglect cases reported each year, families say they just can’t wait.
Reference: KARE 11 (May 10, 2019) “Elder abuse bill passes MN House”