The Justice Department is investigating the quality of care at the Minneapolis Veterans Home in Minnesota. “Essentially they want to know if the civil rights of residents mights have been violated by not getting the care they should have,” said Gil Acevedo, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans affairs, that operates the facility.
What started this investigation is unknown. However, this veterans nursing home has had many problems in the past. Since 2005, the facility has 66 state rule violations, $42,300 in fines and was required to hire a consultant and monitor to look over it. Of the many state rule violations, medical errors at the facility have been associated with the deaths of three residents.
The Justice Department has been investigating the VA nursing home for several months. As a preliminary step in the investigation, the Justice Department has asked the facility to hand over two years of medical records from veterans and their spouses. The state has refused to comply with the request stating violations of state and federal privacy laws (HIPPA). However, the state has disclosed information regarding the number of falls, injuries and deaths at the facility since 2006.
The Special Investigations Section of the Justice Department is conducting this investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. The Act was intended to protect people in prisons and other institutions, but has recently been used by the Justice Department to investigate suspect VA nursing homes. The Justice Department cited the State of Tennessee earlier this year for improper care at two veterans homes. .
Getting the Justice Department involved in nursing home quality is a good thing. VA nursing home are subject to the same rules and regulations as privately operated facilities. If the Justice Departments involvement helps raise the level of patient care even everyone involved, including state officials, should be happy. Obviously, with the number of violations and injuries at this veterans nursing home, people are not doing their job and patient safety is not getting the attention it deserves.