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MINNEAPOLIS - A Minneapolis nursing home is now under the control of the Minnesota Department of Health.

The agency used its emergency powers to take over Camden Care Center on Friday. Health officials said the center's management was putting residents at risk.

"This is sort of an action of last resort and it was required because there were so many violations at the facility," Minnesota Department of Health spokesperson Scott Smith said. "The nature of the violations was so serious that residents were definitely put at risk."

MDH said there were 47 violations in March. At a follow-up inspection in May, there were 33.

Health officials felt that Videll Healthcare, which had managed Camden Care Center since 2012, was no longer able to safely run the facility.

Smith said management did not have good procedures to manage bed sores, dental care and medications. Patients were able to leave the facility without staff knowing and he said "there was unsafe smoking in the facility."

"There was an incident in May where there was use of alcohol and drugs by residents," he added.

Two residents, who have since recovered, were hospitalized. One of them was treated for acute alcohol intoxication at the hospital, Smith said.

The CEO of Videll Healthcare, Steve LaForte, said it was a challenging building with issues the company thought it could overcome.

"We regret what's happened at the facility and what I'm doing at this point is giving the state and the other stakeholders my full cooperation to manage through the process," LaForte said.

He continued, "When you have a building that has a heavy Medicaid population, it's a challenging rate environment to operate in."

LaForte admitted Videll Healthcare has had problems in other states with other facilities.

"We're in the process of winding down our company so we're working with a number of states and were working to transition buildings to new operators," he said.

The Minnesota Department of Health has hired Volunteers of America, a Minnesota nonprofit, to manage Camden Care Center until it decides if Camden Care Center can continue to be run as a nursing home.

Health officials will be working on that decision with the building owner, SABRA Health Care REIT.

Until a decision is made, residents can continue to live at Camden Care Center.

"We want to assure the residents and the family members that this facility is in good hands," Smith said.

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