MCCL calls for immediate measures to address care crisis at facilities for elderly, disabled
MINNEAPOLIS — The state's largest pro-life organization is calling on public officials to take immediate action to stem the abuse crisis raging at care facilities. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) urges Gov. Mark Dayton, state lawmakers, the Minnesota Department of Health, law enforcement officials and others to treat dangerous nursing home conditions exposed by recent Star Tribune reports as a public health crisis. "The magnitude of the abuse of vulnerable adults, and the sorely inadequate response from those charged to protect them, represent a monumental crisis," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "We are failing our fellow citizens at the time of their greatest need. They deserve respect and protection, not abuse and neglect." More than 25,000 complaints of sexual and physical abuse, theft and neglect at the state's 1,800 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities were reported to the Department of Health last year. The number of complaints has nearly doubled in the last six years; for every 10 residents of these facilities, there are now three reported complaints. Tragically, the state's response has been too little, too late. For years, MCCL has expressed concerns to state leaders over the backlog of abuse and neglect complaints, but little has been done. Nearly 97 percent of these cases are never investigated. The vast majority of the 85,000 residents are left without legal protection or recourse. "Enough is enough. The deficit of care for the elderly needs to be addressed immediately and state leaders must set a clear, transparent road forward," Fischbach said. "Our elderly citizens should never have to fear being abused or even killed in a care facility." The state must prioritize the health and well-being of all its citizens, Fischbach added, with special protections for the most vulnerable. To date, the government has failed to do so. Minnesota demographics indicate that the demand for care facilities will increase dramatically in coming years. "Our elderly citizens must be treated with dignity and respect," Fischbach said. "This systemic abuse in care facilities has to be stopped now."