Pawlenty appoints panel to oversee Veterans Homeby Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio
Gov. Pawlenty has named a panel of seven people to examine problems at the Minnesota Veterans Homes.
St. Paul, Minn. — The governor created the Veterans Long Term Care Advisory Commission days after the state began a new round of fines against the Minneapolis home for two uncorrected problems cited during a February reinspection.
The commission includes presidents of three long-term care corporations, a health insurer, two researchers from the University of Minnesota and a former administrator of the Minneapolis home.
Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung says the group will take a long-term approach to finding ways to best serve veterans at all five state homes.
"This is a group of experts and individuals who have worked with veterans, worked in the long-term care business, who can step back and try to examine what have been the ongoing long-term problems and how can we best solve these," said McClung.
The commission will be chaired by Dale Thompson, president and CEO of the Benedictine Health System based in Duluth, which manages 10 hospitals, more than 50 nursing home and several other housing options for older people.
Thompson says the commission will do more than just come up with solutions to fix problems at the Minneapolis Home.
"I think it's beyond just, how do we fix these regulatory compliance issues. It's sort of, what does it take to keep them fixed?" Thompson says. "What happens in a long-term care setting when everything is working very well, and what can we learn from those settings that can help the Minnesota Veterans Home stay in compliance?"
The other six members of the commission are:
*Kathryn Roberts of Stillwater, president and CEO of Ecumen, which operates independent and assisted living housing and care centers throughout the Midwest.
*Rosalie Kane of Minneapolis, a University of Minnesota professor of public health and member of the Center for Biomedical Ethics, School of Social Work and the Center on Aging.
*Tom Mullon of Eagan, former director of the Federal Veterans Administration Medical Center and former administrator of the Minneapolis Veterans Home. He is also a member of the American Legion.
*Leslie Grant of Minneapolis, associate professor of Healthcare Management, and director of the Center for Aging Services Management at the University of Minnesota.
*Nancy Feldman of Minneapolis, president and CEO of UCare Minnesota, the state's fourth largest health plan serving 130,000 senior, disabled and low-income individuals.
*Jim Birchem of Little Falls, president and CEO of Eldercare of Minnesota, which owns four nursing homes and eight assisted living facilities. He is also a member of the American Legion.
The Minneapolis home has been plagued with problems in recent months. The state recently imposed fines totaling $37,000 for delays in addressing problems found in an inspection last fall.