Senior care facility closed by the state under investigation again

A senior care facility closed by the state is the subject of another round of investigations, after tips led officials to believe the facility was still operating.

Chappy’s Golden Shores in Hill City, Minnesota was shut down in December 2018 after the state suspended its license. The original report cited multiple and repeated serious incidents affecting vulnerable adults.

In follow-up investigations publicly posted this week, investigators with the Minnesota Department of Health found substantiated instances of neglect, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation

“We don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Jason Steck, the attorney representing Chappy’s Golden Shores. “The Department of Health just comes out and reports rumors.”

According to an investigative report, clients were encouraged and allowed to move into a trailer on the property following the license suspension. In at least one case, a client was living with a staff member who was also receiving compensation from the facility. Several clients were also moved into a commercial property that the Chappy’s owner recently deeded to a family member. In all cases, the state found evidence that the staff was providing unlicensed medical care.

Steck said his clients did nothing illegal, as the individuals were simply renting rooms.

“They wanted to get back to what they saw as their family, and they were requesting that opportunity to live with their family,” said Steck. “Chappy’s would say ‘we can’t provide you services anymore, we don’t have a license so we can’t provide you services.’”

Another investigative report details a client’s claims that they were sexually abused by a staff member. The client told investigators the staff member would sexually assault them while helping the client shower.

In addition, the state explored multiple allegations of financial exploitation of clients.

In a statement, the Department of Health said it was trying to ensure the safety of vulnerable adults who received services through the facility, but admitted it was a difficult position:

“We will continue to work to ensure the safety of the vulnerable adults who had received services there. However, current law limits the state’s ability to regulate the housing component of Chappy’s and we did not have the regulatory tools necessary to prevent the residents from returning.”

A spokesperson for MDH said they are working with state lawmakers on legislation that would to prevent these situations in the future.

Chappy’s Golden Shores has appealed the license suspension, and attempted a lawsuit against the state. The lawsuit was dismissed until the administrative appeals process wraps up.