State Health Officials Take Over Mpls. Nursing Home after Dozens of Violations

Updated: 06/03/2014 6:39 PM By: Kate Renner

The outside of the Camden Care Center.
The outside of the Camden Care Center.
Photo: Photo: Facebook/Camden Care Center

A Minneapolis nursing home was taken over by the Minnesota Department of Health on Friday due to "significant violations."

State health officials used emergency powers to take over the Camden Care Center, saying it failed to maintain a basic level of safety and security for its patients.

The 87-bed facility at 4659 Lyndale Ave. North houses a mix of residents, including those receiving senior, dementia and mental health care. It also houses those being treated for chemical dependency.

The center was cited for 47 violations in March, and a follow-up investigation in May turned up 33 violations, according to MDH.

Officials say two residents were hospitalized in May and one of them needed intubation for acute alcohol intoxication. There were also legal requirements designed to ensure safe health care that were not being met.

There were also concerns about the financial stability of the facility, officials said.

In the Department of Health's inspections, they saw patients were able to leave without telling staff; two residents got so drunk they had to be hospitalized. The Department of Health also cited unpaid bills to vendors, which would lead to waste management problems, like odors and rodent problems.

Vera is a resident at Camden Care Center and she had a long list of complaints against the management company Videll Healthcare.

"Not giving medications out at the right time, on schedule," Vera said.

She adds inconsistencies in schedules and rules was a problem.

"One day you can smoke on the sidewalk the next you have to be on the property," Vera said.

"The nature of the violations was so serious that residents were definitely put at risk and that's why we felt we had to take this action," said Scott Smith, Minnesota Department of Health.

The Department of Health took over the management of Camden Care Center on Friday, appointing the "Volunteers of America" to run the facility.

"[It] had such a low quality that it clearly was not the standards that Minnesota would expect in this kind of facility," Smith said.

“We are assuring family members and the residents of the facility that they can safely stay at the facility while the situation is being worked out,” said Darcy Miner, MDH Compliance Monitoring Director. “In the coming weeks, MDH will work with the department’s receivership managing agent of the facility to assess the next steps.”

In a receivership, MDH becomes responsible for operations and finances of the nursing home. The receivership, by law, cannot last more than 18 months.

The center is operated by Videll Healthcare Camden, L.L.C. and is under a lease agreement with SABRA Health Care REIT. It purchased the facility in 2012.

SABRA Chief Financial Officer Harold Andrews said the company is the landlord of the property. SABRA is working with the state to make sure the patients are cared for. The state will determine if the facility will continue to be operable. Until then, SABRA is waiting for an official word on the future of the facility, Andrews said.

The CEO of the managing company, Steve LaForte with Videll Healthcare Camden said, "We regret that this has been the result. When we took over the facility there were a number of challenges from the start.

"We are committed to working with the state and other stakeholders to make the impact less disruptive on patients and family than it may be. We are not looking to contest. We are cooperating in the transition to new management."

The state doesn't do this very often, the last time was in 2009. The Department of Health became the receiver of two nursing homes in McIintosh, Minnesota and in Evansville, Minnesota. In both situations the owner was able to come back and manage their nursing home after making some changes.

Videll Healthcare Camden did not have a comment Tuesday afternoon.