The history of LRN is inextricably tied to the persona, passion and initiatives of its founder, Lou Nelson, a history which began 10 years before anything visible started to rise on the Slayton, Minnesota landscape.
Lou researches all federal and state regulations and guidelines governing licensure, operations, and reimbursement of private facilities for the developmentally disabled.
Lou begins the process of application for a determination of need, then conducts a Needs Assessment for the DHS (then, the State of Minnesota Department of Public Welfare) Region VIII North area, including Lincoln/Lyon/Murray County. On March 21, 1983, the Director of Region VIII North approves Lou’s recommendation to construct an 18-bed class B ICF-DD, stating “This letter verifies…that a need exists…” and also stipulates the need for a DAC to be provided by the county, either existing or new. Lou gives written notice of intent in June and then applies for a Certificate of Need in December.
Legal notice of hearings is given in April 10 and 17, 1984 and hearings are conducted in April 26. After several discussions following the hearings, the Minnesota Health Service Area Six approved that a Certificate of Need be granted to LRN Associates, Inc. on May 2, and the Minnesota Department of Health awarded the Certificate of Need on June 25 for construction of the 18-bed ICF-DD on June 25, 1984. The Certificate gives Lou 18 months to have the facility financed, designed, constructed and in full operation. Lou then applies for a license to construct the facility, obtaining appropriate architectural design and construction plans.
Lou obtains funding for construction in the form of City of Slayton Facility Revenue Bonds May 1, but groundbreaking preceded it on March 19! Staff are recruited and trained, and Prairie View begins operations in September with a mandatory test of service with only two consumers for two months. Upon successful completion of the test, the DHS allows the remaining 16 individuals to be referred, and in November, Prairie View is operating at full capacity.
Lou founds Developmental Services, Inc., which acquires licenses to offer Supported Living Services (SLS), and which acquires two 4-bed residences, one of them leased in Slayton, and one owned in Marshall, Minnesota. The licenses also allow for in-home service for those living independently requiring support.
Prairie View receives its first deficiency-free review by the Minnesota Department of Health, which administers the Federal Inspection protocol, a grueling three-day survey of operations, training, facilities, individual consumer progress, and the satisfaction of guardians and parents. Thousands of these inspections occur across the country, but only 24 are deficiency-free nationwide. The survey report rates Prairie View using the following words: “Outstanding performance” and “Uniquely superior job.” The Slayton Wheel Harald wishes its ecstatic “Congratulations!”
!998 – 2014
In the years that followed its first notoriety, LRN received three more deficiency-free Federal Inspection surveys, conducted by state survey teams. LRN became the standard of excellence.
2015 AND BEYOND
LRN continues to deliver outstanding performance, making a difference in the lives of each individual consumer, its staff and the communities it serves. LRN looks forward to flexibly responding to new concepts of service delivery and quality, with a greater emphasis on smaller residences and in-home assistance, while continuing to provide intermediate care in as least restrictive an environment as possible.