Veterans Attorney Jim Fausone Comments on Michigan Veterans Home Audit
Apr 4, 2016
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 4, 2016 – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder named his chief legal counsel James Robert Redford as the interim director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency after an audit uncovered problems at a state-run nursing home for veterans. He replaced Jeff Barnes, who resigned after having led the agency since its inception in 2013.
The Michigan Office of the Auditor General released a highly critical report that concluded the agency failed to ensure adequate care for Grand Rapids Home for Veterans residents. The audit evaluated the home’s performance between October 2013 and August 2015. Among the problems reported were staff shortages and mishandling of abuse complaints.
“Veterans are entitled to a high standard of care that does not involve dealing with neglect and poor living conditions,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Those responsible for such mismanagement should be held accountable.”
Snyder called the findings “deeply troubling” and said that veterans deserve the best care the state can provide. The 415-bed Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is a partially privatized facility which has a combination of state and contract workers caring for residents.
J2S Group Healthforce, a private company hired by the state to provide nursing aides, failed to meet required staffing levels “on a routine basis.” According to the audit, the contractor did not meet staffing requirements 81 percent of the time. The state has previously filed four complaints against J2S over a year and a half.
According to auditors, the workers compromised residents’ safety by failing to conduct required location and alarm checks. They also did not properly investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. The home took an average of seven extra days to respond to one in four resident complaints. In addition, complaints of abuse were not forwarded to or investigated by the home’s nursing director as per policy.
The agency agreed with the findings and said it was correcting problems in line with the audit’s recommendations. Officials said the Grand Rapids home will implement electronic medical records and make updates to document residents’ activities. A new policy will require the home to respond to all resident complaints within 72 hours, and allegations of abuse and neglect within 24 hours.
“Although a leadership change is warranted, Barnes’ departure alone will not help our veterans obtain the care they deserve. Policy changes in the way the home is managed are needed at the deepest level, which the agency seems to be working toward,” said Fausone.
Learn more at http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com
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Northville, MI 48168
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