Minnesota health commissioner resigns after allegedly mishandling elder abuse claims

Edward Ehlinger, MD, resigned as the health commissioner of Minnesota Tuesday over allegations his office mishandled complaints of elder abuse at senior care facilities, according to the Star Tribune.

Dr. Ehlinger's resignation comes five weeks after a Star Tribune exposé revealed hundreds of elder abuse claims go uninvestigated every year, and even when the state's health department investigates these claims, they often take months to resolve. Dan Pollock, the deputy health commissioner, will serve as acting commissioner until a permanent replacement is found.

In the wake of the elder abuse revelations, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton gave the state Department of Human Services more powers to investigate claims and direct health department personnel.

"We are grateful to Commissioner Ehlinger for his many years of dedicated public service," Mr. Dayton said in a statement. "I wish him the very best in his future endeavors. And I pledge to the many dedicated employees at the Health Department our strong support in their efforts to improve the health and safety of all Minnesotans."

Dr. Ehlinger became health commissioner in 2011 after 16 years as director and chief health officer of the Boynton Health Service at the Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota.

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