(The Center Square) – Someone is going to review two of Wisconsin’s troubled veterans homes.
Republicans on the legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to hire an outside investigator to look into the problems at the King and Union Grove Veterans Homes.
“This is a real example here of the failed leadership of the Evers’ Administration,” Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, told reporters. “It’s no secret that they’ve been widely mismanaged as far as care. That’s been well publicized at Union Grove, as well as at King.”
The federal VA has labeled Union Grove as one of the most troubled veterans homes in the state.
A report from back in February highlighted a history of low staffing levels and poor care for veterans, which included late meals and leaving vets to lie in their own dirty bed sheets for hours.
Newly named DVA Secretary-Designee James Bond was first alerted to the problems, according to emails shared with The Center Square, back in 2019.
“We see the funds continuing to dwindle on what used to be really strong veterans homes, providing high quality care,” Born added.
Born said the outside investigator to “analyze” Wisconsin’s veterans homes and “figure out a path forward, both for the quality of care that the people of Wisconsin expect and how they can be run fiscally responsibly.”
JFC is also setting some money aside to hire new nurses at King and Union Grove.
Staffing has been an issue for years. Something former DVA Secretary Mary Kolar acknowledged in those old emails.
“If the CNA’s don’t get raises the good ones will leave. And you won’t be able to hire any new ones because it is well known that this place uses forced overtime,” the wife of a Union Grove resident wrote then-DVA Secretary Mary Kolar.
Neither the new DVA secretary designee or Gov. Evers’ office said anything about JFC’s investigation order.
Born isn’t saying just how much the investigation may cost, or how long it may take. The investigation will be launched sometime after the new budget begins in July.