Lassa: Expand Probe of Veterans Homes
Madison – State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in the wake of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approving an audit of the State Veterans’ Home at King. The audit was spurred by news reports of neglect and mismanagement leading to deteriorating care at the veterans’ home, even as federal dollars were being diverted from the veterans’ homes for other uses:
“While I applaud the Audit Committee for finally approving the audit of King nearly a year after I first requested it, it is shameful that our veterans have been needlessly waiting all these months for action. I informed the Audit co-chairs, as well as the Department of Health Services and the Governor’s office of these issues months ago and they took no action until the news coverage appeared. There should be no more delay in facing the well-documented problems at King. A thorough audit is absolutely necessary, but where there are known problems with facilities, equipment, or staffing levels at King, they should be addressed immediately, without waiting another six months for the audit to be completed.
“Secondly, in the aftermath of the news coverage of problems at King, I have heard from residents and employees at the veterans’ homes at Chippewa Falls and Union Grove that many of the issues at King can be found at those homes as well. Therefore, I have called on the Joint Audit Committee to expand its probe to cover all of the state veterans’ homes. If WDVA has decided to maximize residency at the homes in order to transfer as much money as possible out of the system, it is reasonable to assume that this practice is causing similar problems in all the veterans’ homes.
“I also renew my call for the Walker Administration and WDVA to end the practice of raiding the veterans’ homes and use that money to improve facilities and care for our veterans. I have also requested the federal Veterans Administration to investigate conditions at King. It is time to take seriously the disturbing allegations made by veterans, their family members and staff at the veterans’ homes, and make sure our military veterans get the kind of care they deserve. ”
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