How Does the State of Minnesota Define a Vulnerable Adult?

By Kris L. Maser

Under Minn. Stat. section 626.5572 sebd.21 a vulnerable adult is defined as:
a person 18 years or older who:

• Receives certain services from a qualified provider
• Regardless of services received, possesses physical, mental, or emotional infirmity or dysfunction

What is the purpose of this definition?
• To trigger a mandated report
• To guide responders
• To guide law enforcement

Here are some factors to consider in determining if someone is a Vulnerable Adult:
• Current medical condition
• Current financial condition
• Living arrangements
• Involvement of family members/friends/neighbors
• Recent life events (death of a spouse, inheritance, change in medical condition)

Red Flags – financial exploitation:
• Opening new bank account or unusual bank activity
• Checks being signed by someone other than the vulnerable adult
• Accumulation of bills or debts even though a power of attorney document exists
• Recent signature of power of attorney, joint checking account, mortgage documents
• Use of the vulnerable adults’ debit/credit card for purchases uncharacteristic to the vulnerable adult
• Large even sums withdrawn from the vulnerable adult’s accounts
• Removing all forms of communication between the vulnerable adult and others
• Firing of caregivers
• Change in doctors
• Significant financial changes with no advice from the attorney or financial advisor

Red Flags – personal/emotional abuse:
• Poor personal hygiene
• Withdrawal
• Loneliness
• Depression
• Paranoia
• Confusion or disorientation
• Loss of weight/dehydration
• Recent company by unfamiliar family or friend, wandering
• Memory loss of recent events/family

Who are mandated reporters under the statute?

A mandated reporter is a professional or professional’s delegate while engaged in:
1. Social services
2. Law enforcement
3. Education
4. The care of vulnerable adults
5. Any of the health related occupations referred to in Minn. Stat. section 214.01, subd. 2 including:
     • Board of examiners of nursing home administrators
     • Office of Unlicensed complementary and alternative health care practice
     • Board of medical practice
     • Board of nursing
     • Board of chiropractic examiners
     • Board of optometry
     • Board of physical therapy
     • Board of psychology
     • Board of social work
     • Board of marriage and family therapy
     • Office of mental health practice
     • Board of behavioral health and therapy
     • A person that performs the duties of the medical examiner or coroner
     • Board of dietetics and nutrition practice
     • Board of dentistry
     • Board of pharmacy
     • Board of podiatric medicine
     • Veterinary medicine
6. Any employee of a rehabilitation facility certified by the commissioner of jobs and training for vocational rehabilitation
7. Any employee or person providing services in a facility as defined in subdivision 6
8. A person that performs the duties of the medical examiner or coroner

Anyone can be a voluntary reporter. Note that attorneys, financial planners and Certified Public Accountants are not mandated reporters.

If you need to make a report the common entry point number for:
• Hennepin County is 612-348-8526
• Ramsey county is 651 266-4012

For the common entry points for other counties go to the Minnesota Board on Aging or call the Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433.

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