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State developing report card for assisted living facilities

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Pushing great-grandma
In this 2014 file photo, a resident of an assisted living apartment at the Senior Care Center in Clarissa is helped down the hall by her great granddaughter.
Chris Welsch | MPR News file

The state of Minnesota wants to create a new report card system that rates assisted living facilities across key metrics, much like the system for nursing homes.

The report card came out of a series of new regulations and oversights for the assisted living industry passed by the state legislature last session.

Among those changes included the ability for residents and families to electronically monitor resident rooms, consumer protections and other changes to bring more oversight to the industry.

As part of that oversight, the state is working to develop an online report card system for these facilities — a series of metrics that consumers could use to compare facilities.

The state is working with the University of Minnesota to gather input on what that report card should look like. The University of Minnesota has an online survey to do just that.

Tetyana Shippee, an associate professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, is helping to conduct that survey.

"There is no information right now to compare sites, to even compare which services are being offered by different sites," she said. "Imagine if there was a place you could go, you could enter your zip code and you could see what are all the assisted living sites available within the radius that you specify, what services do they offer? What are their scores on resident satisfaction? What are their scores on quality of life from residents and family members?"

The goal is to figure out which metrics are most important to people and to create a simple, easy-to-use report card system that will show those scores or metrics.

Shippee said the metrics can also help increase the quality of care.

"What we know from the nursing home literature is that the report card is also important for provider performance. So by having these scores, yes we want to help consumers, but also the goal is to incentivize better provider performance," she said.

The survey is open until Nov. 30.

The state will be working with the results of the survey and other feedback to develop a pilot test for resident and family surveys through next summer. It plans to start implementing surveys from July 2020 to June 2021.