One of Minnesota’s most influential pro-life organizations has called on Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm to resign for failing to address the crisis in the state’s long-term care facilities.
As of Tuesday, COVID-19 fatalities among nursing-home residents accounted for 79 percent of Minnesota’s 1,217 total deaths. Under the threat of a legislative subpoena, Malcolm revealed in a 74-page letter to lawmakers that dozens of long-term care facilities have allowed COVID-19 patients to return to a congregate-care setting after being discharged from the hospital.
“Other states have learned not to transfer infected patients into nursing homes. They have found alternatives in order to better protect people. Minnesota still hasn’t,” Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Executive Director Scott Fischbach said in a press release. “There are no excuses. We are simply failing the most vulnerable members of our state. A change in leadership and policy at the Minnesota Department of Health is now long overdue.”
The Department of Health released inspection reports last week documenting how four Minnesota nursing homes failed to control the spread of the coronavirus between residents, according to MCCL. In various press conferences, state leaders have said that between 20 to 30 percent of facilities are not in compliance with infection-control standards.
The department has thus far declined to publicly disclose the number of deaths in each facility or identify which facilities have failed to meet safety standards.
“The grave dangers to residents of long-term care facilities – and the need to keep the virus out of such facilities – have been clear from the beginning. That was months ago,” Fischbach added. “This is an emergency, and Commissioner Malcolm and her team are not getting the job done. Minnesota deserves better. No category of humanity is expendable. No group of human beings should be forgotten.”
Along with Rhode Island and New Hampshire, Minnesota continues to have the highest percent of COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities in the nation, according to a report from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.
“Minnesota is doing worse than other states at protecting the very people whose lives are most at risk during the coronavirus pandemic,” Fischbach said in a previous statement. “We need to fight the fire where the fire is. It was clear early on that this virus would burn through long-term care centers if adequate protections were not put in place. And they weren’t.”
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