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Lawmakers Want Investigation At GR Home For Vets After Claims Of Improper Care

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jun 28, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Just months after the jobs at the Grand Rapids Home For Veterans were privatized in an effort to save money some West Michigan lawmakers are questioning the quality of care being provided.

On Friday June, 28th  democratic representatives Winnie Brinks and Brandon Dillon, both from Grand Rapids, called for a full-blown investigation of the home.

Brinks and Dillon said their demands stem from an impromptu visit to the vet home earlier in the month.

The democrats said they heard stories of neglect during their visit.

Rep. Dillon said, “One man, a quadriplegic veteran told us that he had nearly been dropped twice in recent months by an untrained caretaker who didn’t know how to transfer him to his chair.”

He also said another veteran waited 90 minutes in line for medication.

“Most staff said they were too scared to speak to us even though we were probably their own elected officials in most cases,” said Dillon.

Sara Dunne, the director of the veteran’s home said those stories should have been brought to her attention by lawmakers immediately.

Dunne told FOX 17 the veteran home has a specific process for handling any complaint and currently there are no ongoing investigations and no evidence of abuse at the home.

Rep. Brinks said Governor Rick Snyder and the State Department of Veteran’s Affairs should intervene.

“We would like there to be more transparency,” said Brinks.  “We’d like there to be a clear process for us to know the quality of care.  That would require an investigation.”

In April of this year, 144 state employees lost their job in favor of private replacements from the J2S Group.

The public relations firm, Truscott Rossman, represents the hiring agency J2S.  John Truscott tells FOX 17 the lawmakers are only speaking out now to further their own political agenda.  Truscott said they want to see union employees working back at the home.

Dillon said that’s not the case, “This is not protecting anyone’s job.  It’s about making sure that the veterans that are in here are getting the best quality care they can get.”

Dunne said during the lawmakers unannounced visit to the home earlier in June they may have violated HIPPA rules by taking a picture of a patient without their consent.

Representative Dillon denied that he did anything wrong during the visit to the home.

The union AFSCME, which represents the 144 workers who lost their jobs back in April, plan to pickett the home on Monday July, 1st.