Fees, charges at assisted living facilities to get closer state scrutiny

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Fees and charges at assisted-living facilities will be get closer scrutiny as the state reviews the system that serves thousands of elderly and disabled Minnesotans.

The Star Tribune reports that the state regulates 970 assisted-care facilities with a total of 51,175 units. The facilities — part housing, part support and health-related services — operate under laws governing both sides of the business.

Some consumers complain that the fees, which can run in the thousands of dollars, are confusing, unfair or even illegal. The legislature mandated a review of the industry, which was released in March. The Minnesota Office of Ombudsman for Long Term Care will spearhead an effort to address fees and review other consumer issues in the assisted-living system.

“We see inconsistency across the state," said ombudsman Deb Holtz. "There’s different fees being charged in different places and they may or may not be called the same thing."

Patti Cullen, president of Care Providers of Minnesota, a trade group that represents assisted-living facilities, said fees vary by location and are intended to cover costs of caring for residents.

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