Minneapolis nursing home uses privacy laws as defense

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Minneapolis-based Concordia Care Center, which has been accused of not protecting frail residents from abuse, said state and federal privacy laws prevented it from telling residents about the sex offenders living there. The home filed the statement with Hennepin County District Court.

Attorney General Mike Hatch sued Concordia two weeks ago. He requested that a new administrator run the home and that the home pay unspecified damages.

Hatch said the Concordia is wrong about the laws, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The home's officials could have notified residents of the offenders without specifically identifying them, Hatch said.

Hatch accused Concordia and the parent company, Minneapolis-based Benchmark Healthcare, of not protecting the other residents from alleged abuse, of violating consumer protection laws and operating under "unsafe and deplorable" conditions.

Concordia says federal patient bills of rights and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prohibited the home from disclosing the residents' histories, including those placed there by the state Corrections Department. Concordia also said the laws give exclusive oversight authority to the state Department of Health.