As practitioners of veteran's benefits law in Michigan, we routinely meet with the valiant and courageous former service members as they embark on the process to obtain much-needed benefits from the federal and state governments. One of the most pressing issues – both in our state and elsewhere – is the pressing need for affordable, quality long-term care for veterans. Currently, proposed legislation drafted to supposedly “fix” this problem has many concerned that the state may be leaning towards privatization of the veteran's long-term care industry – which raises further concerns of consistency & proper oversight.
In both the Michigan House and Senate, bipartisan efforts are underway to help increase financial support for faltering veteran's homes. As explained by Rep. Hildenbrand (R-Lowell), “[w]e're looking to create an authority made up of veterans, health care experts and advocates, people in finance and business, who understand the scope of running a health care business like this to be able to provide services our veterans deserve.” More specifically, the bills introduced in September would create the “Michigan Veterans Facility Authority” to oversee management of veterans' homes statewide. The move comes on the heels of a “scathing” audit of a Grand Rapids facility revealing widespread issues with staffing, abuse, neglect, prescription shortages and poor patient care. The cause? Many believe the privatization of the facility – which essentially kept it “off the radar” – caused the lapses in oversight resulting patient injury.
Commenting on the privatization criticism, Hildenbrand responded by stating “[t]he privatization didn't work out perfectly. We addressed that, we appropriated more dollars, we've got a new company now to provide services…..The problem wasn't the privatization, it was the contract. The company awarded the contract did not comply and live up to the agreements in the contract.”
In a hearing following the Grand Rapids facility audit, residents and advocates testified to the deplorable conditions, including pest infestations in patient rooms and failure by nursing staff to check patients for hours on end.
Contact an experienced VA benefits attorney today!
To learn more about your rights as a veteran of the U.S. military, please contact attorney Andrew Byers today: 248-301-1511.
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