State takes control of southeast Minnesota nursing home

Updated: June 13, 4:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health has taken control of a southeastern Minnesota nursing home over concerns that financial issues could eventually impact resident safety.

“We had an allegation that came in to our complaint section that indicated that there was a concern about the financials of the facility, including the concern about being able to meet payroll for staff,” explained MDH Health regulation division director Maria King.

The Health Department reported Monday that the Ramsey County District Court on Friday granted a temporary order for the state to assume control of Pine Haven Care Center in Pine Island "while operations and management issues are addressed."

The facility is licensed for 70 beds and currently has 52 residents. King said an investigation last week found resident care was “not a significant issue”, but if staff were not paid, staffing levels, critical services and medications for residents could all be negatively affected.

The department has appointed a temporary managing agent to handle operations at Pine Haven. It said residents and staff were notified of the change over the weekend.

“They are doing a deep dive into what may have caused the facility’s financial issues that really were the key driver of this particular receivership,” said King. “And they will help to inform the department on what kind of next best steps might be available, and how we can move forward.”

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“This rare step is one we do not take lightly, but the evidence indicated a need for immediate action to ensure that residents are safe and continue to receive essential services,” state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a news release. “We are focused on a smooth transition and determining the next steps that will meet the needs of residents, staff, and families.”

When MPR News called Pine Haven on Monday morning, a person answering phones at the care center directed questions to the Health Department.

Last fall the state took control of the 31-resident Twin City Gardens Nursing Home in Minneapolis amid concerns about care and financial issues. King said the the most recent receivership of a care facility prior to that was in 2015 and there have been a handful of cases in the past decade.