How BENHA Handles Complaints
Review By Committee
BENHA has appointed a Standards of Practice Committee to review all complaints received. The committee first decides whether the matter involved in the complaint is one over which the board has authority. If so, the committee next decides whether to dismiss the complaint (if the matter is not of sufficient magnitude to require further action) or to explore the matter further. Further exploration of a complaint may involve making an inquiry to the administrator, obtaining investigation by the Office of the Attorney General, holding an educational conference with the administrator or pursuing disciplinary action against the administrators license.
The purpose of the committees review of all information received from all sources is to determine whether the administrator involved has likely violated any of the statutes or rules that the board is empowered to enforce and, if so, whether those violations warrant action by the board. The action to be pursued by the committee and the board depends upon such things as the severity of the violation, the existence of mitigating or extenuating circumstances, the history of complaints, corrective actions, or previous discipline involving the administrator, and upon whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that the administrator did, indeed, violate statutes or rules enforced by the Board. The committee thoroughly reviews each complaint/report before it takes any action, including action to dismiss a complaint.
Possible Committee Actions
The Standards of Practice Committee, following review of survey and investigation findings, may decide to take any of the following actions:
Dismiss the complaint with no further action.
Close the complaint but indicate conditions under which it could be reopened
- Conduct an educational conference with the licensee, which could result in:
- dismissal or closure of the complaint;
- a mutually signed corrective action agreement in which the committee agrees to dismiss the complaint contingent on the administrators performance of specified actions. A corrective action agreement is an educational, non-disciplinary action; or
- a decision by the committee to hold a disciplinary conference with the licensee.
- Conduct a disciplinary conference with the licensee that may result in:
- dismissal or closure of the complaint;
- a mutually signed corrective action agreement in which the committee agrees to dismiss the complaint contingent on the licensee's agreement to take specified actions.
- a stipulation and consent order signed by the administrator and the committee and accepted by vote of the full board, imposing disciplinary action which may include a reprimand, order for conditional license, limitation on practice, suspension, voluntary surrender or revocation of the administrators license; or
- a decision to proceed to a contested case hearing before an administrative law judge in pursuit of disciplinary action against the licensee. Any disciplinary action taken following a contested case hearing may be appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Time Required To Process Complaints
There is no specific timeline for the Boards complaint process. Decisions that the Board lacks jurisdiction to handle a complaint can be made relatively quickly. Decisions to dismiss or close a complaint file for lack of sufficient evidence to prove a violation of statute or rules may take several months or more. Some complaints are extremely complex, especially those requiring investigation by the Attorney Generals Office, and may take up to a year or more to resolve.
BENHA is required by law to notify complainants of the action taken by the committee/board on all complaints.
Classification of Complaint Data
The name of the person filing a complaint with the board is classified by law as private data unless the complainant gives BENHA permission to disclose their identity.
Active investigative data relating to the investigation of complaints are confidential and can only be released to government officials involved in handling/investigating the complaint.
The nature or content of unsubstantiated complaints and inactive investigative data regarding violations of statutes and rules are classified as private and may be disclosed only to the subject of the data (typically the licensee).
All agreements for corrective action and stipulation and consent orders are public, i.e. available to any individual upon request, but underlying information not in the agreement or order is private, available only to the subject of the data following resolution of the case.
If a complaint proceeds to a contested case hearing, information relating to the case may be disclosed to the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case as well as to the Office of Administrative Hearings, and the hearing may be open to the public.
BENHA reports all disciplinary actions to the Disciplinary Reporting Service of the National Association of Boards of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators (NAB). NAB makes the information available to licensure boards throughout the United States.