ST. PAUL, Minn. - State lawmakers calling for more investigation into the office which investigates senior care complaints say they will propose a law to give families more information.
KARE 11 Investigates has profiled cases in which families were kept in the dark – often never even contacted – while the state was investigating abuse and neglect complaints about their own parents.
State Senator Karin Housley, (R-St. Mary’s Point) says she is working on a bill that will give more information to families.
“We have drafted three different versions of that to change so that family members can get information and can be in on the investigation. At least know what’s happening,” Housley said at a news conference Tuesday.
It would impact cases like the one involving Suzanne Edwards. Two aides were caught on cell phone video taunting, berating and threatening to light her on fire. The facility reported it to the state Office of Health Care Facilities (OHFC) who was investigating.
But Suzanne’s son, Kent Edwards says no one would tell him what had happened to his mom.
“They do not share that information,” he told KARE 11.
“So here’s an investigation going on about alleged abuse against your mother and nobody would tell you anything about it?,” KARE asked.
“No, not at all,” he said.
The OHFC has come under fire for failing to investigate most of the complaints they receive.
Housley joined State Senators Michelle Benson and Carrie Ruud in calling for an investigation into what they called a “toxic” culture at OHFC. They demanded answers after a whistleblower came forward alleging bullying and harassment at the agency.
That whistleblower is Nancy Omondi. Her attorney says she was fired in retaliation for making her complaints.
"I demand accountability, I demand transparency. I demand immediate attention addressing these issues,” Housley said.
They called on Governor Mark Dayton to answer questions and to make public meetings of a task force he has convened to study issues of abuse and neglect in senior care facilities.
Housley and Benson chair committees charged with overseeing elder care facilities. They said fixing issues with senior care in Minnesota was a top priority.