While a number of states operate homes to help care for veterans in need, some experts have recently grown concerned about the quality of care those facilities actually provide. This issue recently came to a head in Michigan, where one such home is in bad shape that state lawmakers are calling for more help to deal with the problems.
Last week, the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans was the subject of an auditor's report that found that it has a spate of new and old problems. The matters have not been addressed by the facility's administration in any serious way, according to a letter from Michigan State Sens. Margaret O'Brien and Peter MacGregor published in the Grand Rapids Press. This is the second such review conducted on the home since 2013, when other issues – some of which have been dealt with – were also uncovered. It's a problem the lawmakers aim to handle as much as possible going forward, with hearings scheduled for later in the month, and the introduction of Senate Bill 809 to create an ombudsman position to oversee all such facilities.
The biggest of these problems is that when veterans occasionally accuse staff of abuse or neglect, there isn't much of a safety net, the report said. Indeed, about 90 percent of all those allegations end up going uninvestigated. Further, the home is rarely as staffed as it should be, with as many as 22 fewer people than necessary working there on any given day. And symptomatic of those issues overall is the fact that nearly 2 in 5 prescriptions there being re-filled at the wrong time.
Many lawmakers nationwide are trying to do more to improve veterans' lives, and giving veterans an active voice in those efforts will go a long way toward providing the help they need.