The Whistleblower blog was started in 2008. Look for posts by these contributors: James Eli Shiffer, Jane Friedmann, Brandon Stahl, Eric Roper and Alejandra Matos. | Check out the Whistleblower archive.
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In his "Marching Home" series, my colleague Mark Brunswick reported Sunday how use of disability benefits varies widely depending on where you live in Minnesota. "A veteran in Little Falls or Royalton, for example, is more likely to be receiving disability benefits than a veteran living in Minneapolis or St. Paul, even if they fought in the same war and have the same injury," Brunswick wrote. Veterans in rural areas were "generally more effective at getting veterans aid."
You can check out a sortable list of disability benefits by zip code, courtesy of digital expert Dave Braunger. You can also search an interactive map for this information, thanks to graphics editor Ray Grumney.
Brunswick also credits a report by McClatchy Newspapers reporter Chris Adams in November about disparities among veterans nationwide in who gets disability benefits. Adams also found that a quarter of recent veterans don't have health insurance.
On Sunday Whistleblower wrote about metro-area nursing homes that had the highest number of federal deficiencies in the past three years. Read the article below or click here to read the original posting.
Today ProPublica, a non-profit news organization, launched a new version of their portal to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service's "nursing home compare" database. ProPublica calls its tool "Nursing Home Inspect." It has some features that make it a little more user friendly than the government's site.
National data on the Nursing Home Inspect home page shows that Minnesota is about in the middle of the pack in terms of nursing home statewide that have lost their medicare or medicaid funding. It shows that Minnesota nursing homes are cited for a relatively small number of deficiencies, and the state is just about rock bottom in the amount of fines it issues.
Click on Minnesota in any map to find out how each nursing home performs in the categories of fines, deficiencies and the denial of federal funding. Click on individual nursing home names to get more information about those homes and their survey results.
The article from Sunday:
One nursing home repeatedly allowed a resident to leave a facility to visit an abusive boyfriend. Another home failed to properly report and investigate many instances of residents' bruises, abrasions and allegations of abuse by staff. Other homes had trouble with cleanliness, odors and flies.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) inspects and rates nursing homes that receive federal funds. Of the 111 nursing homes in the seven-county metro area evaluated by CMS, I've listed the 10 cited for the most violations between June 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2012, the past three CMS reporting periods. CMS has used three years of inspection data to rate nursing homes.
Many but not all of the deficiencies identified in the most recent reports have been described, as well as complaints substantiated by the Minnesota Office of Health Facility Complaints during the three-year period.
1 Crystal Care Center, Crystal, 62 violations
Failed to ensure a grab-bar met requirements; develop care plans for all residents; take an incontinent resident to the toilet on schedule; provide proper bed-sore treatment; date-mark opened medication and food; clean ovens; keep emergency call lights in working order.
2 Southside Care Center, Minneapolis, 51 violations
Failed to notify a physician and pharmacist of a client's condition; investigate or report instances of resident abuse, neglect or mistreatment; provide sanitary bathrooms; monitor the diet of a diabetic resident; monitor a resident's pulse; adequately staff nurses; have an infection-control program.
3 Golden Livingcenter - Lynwood, Fridley, 48 violations
Failed to fully document a complaint; get signed physician orders when a resident was transferred; maintain a sanitary, odor-free and comfortable facility; maintain a resident's "highest well being"; manage a resident's medications; control a fly problem.
Substantiated complaints: The home failed to notice when a resident cut off his wander bracelet and left the facility. It sent a resident to a clinic with a fever and a coccyx ulcer covered with feces. The resident was diagnosed with sepsis.
4 Presbyterian Homes of Arden Hills, 44 violations
Failed to immediately report and investigate an abuse allegation; fully develop a care plan for a resident at risk of pressure ulcers; monitor the diet of a diabetic resident; supervise a resident with balance issues; make sure a resident was hydrated; minimize risk of infection in the facility.
5 Woodlyn Heights Healthcare Center, Inver Grove Heights, 43 violations
Failed to address resident's complaints quickly; treat all residents with respect and maintain their dignity; treat or prevent a resident's pressure ulcers; train staff in safe procedures for transferring residents between bed and wheelchair; establish some care plans and implement others; provide adequate nurse staffing; maintain a sanitary kitchen.
6 Texas Terrace Care Center, St. Louis Park, 42 violations
Failed to serve food consistent with dietary requirements or preferences; maintain a sanitary facility; monitor a resident's weight; keep emergency call lights in working order.
Substantiated complaints: Staff failed to administer an antibiotic as prescribed. A resident died after staff improperly reacted to his low oxygen-saturation rate.
7 Golden Livingcenter - Chateau, Minneapolis, 42 violations
Failed to notify all residents prior to Medicaid benefits ending; treat residents with respect and maintain their dignity; maintain a sanitary facility; help a resident with grooming; supervise a resident adequately when his beard lit on fire while he was smoking.
Substantiated complaints: Offensive odors and inadequate housekeeping.
8 Camden Care Center, Minneapolis, 41 violations
Failed to develop policies to prevent abuse; neglect or mistreatment; neglected two residents who left the facility unsupervised and sustained injuries, and failed to immediately report the incidents; periodically assess a resident's functional capacity; develop a care plan for a resident with dentures or promptly deliver mended dentures; keep a refrigerator cold enough; maintain the facility in a safe, clean and comfortable condition; provide regular job reviews.
9 Robbinsdale Rehab & Care Center, Robbinsdale, 40 violations
Failed to provide accurate medical records upon discharge; assess and intervene in a resident's poor oral hygiene; reposition a resident every two hours; monitor the efficacy of all residents' medication; have a pharmacist review medications; date-mark medications; store and prepare food in a sanitary manner; keep emergency call lights in working order; train staff on how to move a resident safely.
Substantiated complaints: Facility let an unlicensed person dispose of medications.
Failed to immediately report or thoroughly investigate allegations by residents of being slapped by staff and numerous instances of bruises and abrasions. Failed to fully assess the behavior and abilities of residents; develop care plans; provide for residents' highest well being; prevent pressure ulcers; honor a resident's request to go to the toilet until it was too late; make sure residents were safe from burns; or explain the benefits and risks of flu shots.
Substantiated complaints: Failed to transcribe a doctor's order that a resident wear an arm sling.
Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in Minnesota. Contact me at email@example.com.
Posted on behalf of staff writer Abby Simons:
The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a ban that keeps a nurse from working with patients as a result of his criminal sexual conduct conviction.
After he was notified of the ban by the state, Michael S. Anderson, a 16-year employee of Minneapolis Children’s Hospital, pleaded guilty to the charge. He said he didn’t remember the incident, in which he was accused of groping a woman on a bar dance floor. He contended the conviction does not affect his work as a surgical nurse and that he poses no risk to patients.
State health commissioner Edward Ehlinger determined state law doesn’t allow him to set aside a disqualification regardless of whether Anderson poses a risk of harm. Anderson appealed, and the court sided with the state.
Read the full ruling below:
A southeastern Minnesota ambulance service that failed to always keep two workers on duty must undergo an assessment and make sure it is fully staffed, according to an order by the Minnesota Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board in November.
In June, the board reviewed about six weeks of schedules for Preston Ambulance Service, owned by the city of Preston. Regulators found the service was improperly staffed 17 percent of the time. State law generally requires continuous staffing. The service failed to respond to two calls on June 25, one day after Preston Ambulance claimed staffing coverage had increased to 97 percent.
The service was told to provide staffing schedules to the board and to local dispatchers for at least 12 months.
Posted on behalf of my colleague Jane Friedmann:
A Minneapolis lawyer who made false statements under oath while being interviewed as a potential juror was suspended last week for 60 days, according to an order by the state Supreme Court.
On a questionnaire, Benjamin Warpeha failed to disclose a 2004 misdemeanor conviction for indecent conduct and, while under oath, made misrepresentations. The conviction, which was under a stay of imposition, was later dismissed.
The case for which Warpeha was being considered as a juror involved a defendant charged with kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
In addition to the suspension, Warpeha agreed to pay $900 in court costs and retake the professional responsibility portion of the state bar exam.
Read the petition here:
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