St. Mark’s defends against quality concerns

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

AUSTIN — State reports have led many to question the quality of care at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home and now have the center’s family council looking for ways to work toward improvements with the board of directors.

“Public records indicate that St. Mark’s Lutheran Home ranks very low in areas of care given, while being higher in cost than other facilities in Minnesota,” family council President Dick Heuton wrote in an e-mailed response to the Herald.

The family council, an organization of residents’ family and friends, has invited the board to a meeting in the St. Mark’s living room at 7 p.m. today to discuss concerns stemming from personal accounts and findings in multiple reports from the Minnesota Department of Health.

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The call for change stems from MDH documents like a May 11 Quality Indicator Survey. Understaffing is one of nine deficiencies reported.

Board of directors President Marty Helle said staff numbers at St. Mark’s are on par with standards and numbers at other facilities.

“Staffing is always a huge concern because we have to staff this building 24 hours a day,” Helle said.

When deficiencies are found, Helle said the facility takes steps to correct them immediately, especially since unchecked deficiencies could result in fines or a Medicare funding freeze.