Whistleblower claims death covered up at assisted living facility with neglect history

A whistleblower lawsuit accuses a Lino Lakes assisted living facility of covering up a patient’s death.

In 2022 and 2023, Lino Lakes Assisted Living facility had seven substantiated complaints of neglect. In January 2024, the director of nursing says a patient died, and he was blocked from reporting it to the state, so he filed the lawsuit.

"You're talking about life and death situations," Ben Glubka, the now-former director of nursing, told FOX 9.

Glubka knew the facility had patient neglect problems before he took over as director of nursing.

FOX 9 found complaints substantiated by the state Department of Health including a patient found smeared in feces after being ignored for eight hours and another who developed sepsis when he didn’t get his antibiotics for seven days.

Glubka’s predecessor told state investigators she didn’t have time to check on patients’ wounds because of a nursing shortage. He had expected an improved situation but says he found himself as one of only two nurses for 93 patients and the only registered nurse.

"We did our very best," he said. "I mean, it's always triaging with the most pressing need is at that time."

Just a few months into his tenure, he says a woman passed away this January. He wasn’t there that day, but he suspects neglect again.

According to his lawsuit against the facility’s ownership, Cornerstone Management Services, LLC, she’d recently noticed unexplained blood loss, and staff were supposed to monitor her blood pressure.

She was found in a massive pool of blood, and Glubka later found no record of anyone taking her pulse or blood pressure.

"My thought went from ‘What happened?’, you know, right away, to ‘I gotta fix this. What happened?' Right?" he said. "I can't let this go."

The whistleblower lawsuit says Glubka told his bosses they should be filing a report with the state but was told, "There really isn’t anything to report."

After he pressed the issue, they quickly escalated discipline against him and fired him within weeks. His attorney says the lawsuit is meant to protect employees who are trying to protect the people they care for.

"He shouldn't feel afraid," said Paul Schinner of Halunen Law. "Nobody working in health care or any industry should feel afraid to raise those kind of concerns."

Attorneys for Cornerstone Management Services did not respond to FOX 9's request for comment Wednesday. They filed an answer in court, denying just about everything — even claiming not to know about the patient’s death.

Glubka says he believes conditions are likely dangerous for his former patients.

"I absolutely worry for the folks that are there still," said Glubka.

The case is currently headed for trial next May.