Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Settting the record straight, This Blog and Veterans for Justice.

Let me make this perfectly clear, and as simple as I can.

This blog has NOTHING to do with the Non profit group Veterans 4 Justice which was created by veterans who live at the State of Michigan veterans home, called the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

The author of this blog was living at the home, but he is no longer there, as he was discharged for political reasons, or because of poor administrating, and was refused proper due process.

The author of this blog was dishonorably discharged from the veterans home because he lost his temper for the first time in the 2 years that he was there. He got angry and responded in kind when the home threatened to tow his car away. He perceived their actions to be the administration to be threatening to steal his car, therefore when he responded in kind, he was targeted for removal. And many believe because he used this blog to expose the corruption and abuse of veterans, going on at the Home.

The Former Vice president who helped get the Non Profit Group Veterans 4 Justice started, left the position of Vice President of the non profit group Veterans For Justice when he was unable to attend meetings and none of the other group officers were keeping him informed as to what was going on at the meetings.

Also, he found himself in the middle of another 2 other NPG (non profit group) officers whom were about to resign their positions for their own reasons.

The final straw came when The Former Vice President wrote an opinion on what he thought was going on and asked it to be posted it to this blog. Jerry L, the President of the organization, called him, attacked him verbally and told him he was stupid and did not know what he was talking about.

That post lasted 1 day and was removed.  And since then, the former Vice President has wiped his hands clean of that organization.

The Former Vice president wishes the NPG the best of luck, now and in the future, but with the understanding that he cannot be a part of it any more, nor will he be,  in any future.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

GRH4V: War on Smokers, and Veterans be Dammed.

It is bad enough that under the Administration of Sara Dunne, the Veterans lost their in building smoking rooms. And it took them a year to put up the smoking tent area outside, another year to get the heat working in it, and now it appears they are refusing to let them go out and use the area at night, instead forcing them to go outside of the main entrance where there is no heat.

The smoking rooms that once existed, were a single room on each floor where veterans could go and have a smoke in the winter time. These rooms had extra ventilation, and the veterans were responsible for maintaining them and cleaning them.  They were taken away when Michigan put a Ban on all smoking in public places under Former Governor Granholm.  The vets homes were supposed to get an exemption - they never did.. NOR did current Governor Rick Snyder sign the exemption.

Then They agreed to put up a smoking area outside on the Pavilion. The home reported to the state congress that it was completed, and only when one of the congressmen came to see it, and found they hadn't even started it, was the job even started.. Then there was no heat.

The heaters sat on the loading doc of the volunteer group who had paid for them for 2 months before they got installed in March of that winter. Still they were not turned on for lack of inspections.  Then in July of that year, they finally got them inspected and approved.

The next winter, a mild one by any standard, the heaters worked and the guys had an area to go in, and they had problems with home less guys hanging out there.
Both veterans and staff members would go out to the area, to have smokes at all times of the night. Many veterans simply cannot sleep a straight 8 hours or even 4 at a time.  So they go out have a smoke then return to bed.

Now I am told that between midnight and 430 am, the double doors to the pavilion area  are locked, and veterans have to go outside the main entrance, which has no heat.. and veterans in nursing units are being required to have a care giver go with them, during those times;  - isn't that false imprisonment?

This is what is being reported to me. IF the information is wrong please take advantage of the comments section and drop me a note telling me what is really going on.   Thanks.

This is Michigan Snubbing its Veterans..

May the ghosts of past veterans haunt those who are responsible for this continuing travesty.

What abuse, This abuse: A day in the life of A Vet at GRH4V.

I am a veteran at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.  I would like to tell you about my day and the atrocities I face.

I am woken up around 6:30 in the morning.  That is assuming I am asleep because during the night, my room is frequently entered and the lights are turned on to make sure that my roommate and I are asleep.  My roommate is but the overhead lights turned on wakes me up.  Anyways, at 6:30 in the morning, I am asked for the Depends I wear.  Rather than give me a clean pair, I am told to wait and be patient and someone would be around to assist me in getting dressed.  It is now 9:30 in the morning and I am forced the indignation of being naked.  I am still waiting for my meds which should have came at 8:00 am.  By this time, I have buzzed the nursing station several times.  I require an oxygen treatment twice a day.  That is suppose to happen at 8:00 am and when I go to bed.  I have endured trouble breathing during these hours in the morning and have called for help.  Nobody comes......Nobody comes.  I got yelled at the other day when I managed to crawl on the floor to get my Depends and clothes.  Here I am, a 100% service connected disabled veteran and I have been forced to crawl on the floor to get my clothes.  Such indignation.
I recently was hospitalized with pneumonia and an accelerated heart rate.  I was told to take it easy.  When I returned to the Veterans Home, they took away my electric scooter.  They said I was driving it recklessly.  I now have to use a manual wheel chair.  So much for taking it easy.  If you have ever pushed yourself in one of these, it is no easy chore.  So much for the home following doctor's orders.
I need to tell you that I have been ordered by the home to take behavior modification medicine or they will kick me out of the home.  If they would allow me to go home, that would be wonderful but Nooooo, that isn't the case.  They want to place me in a private nursing home and they want me to pay for it myself.  Isn't that nice of them.  Fortunately, I have been told by my service officer that they have to use my VA insurance.  I should tell you that my Service Officer received an e-mail from Sarah Dunne who informed him that I wasn't being kicked out of the home.  This was a trick played on me by the medical staff. 
This behavior modification medication they want me on is real special.  It gives me bad dreams.  It causes me to hallucinate.  Basically,  they want me a zombie.  They don't want me to express my rights or my anger.  Gracious, what do I have to be angry about?  We won't discuss the fact that the Social Worker assigned to me lied and got the Kent County Probate Court involved in my case, assigning me a guardian and conservator.  We won't discuss that this Court banned me from contact with my wife for 14 months at the request of my guardian.  I thank God daily that I am now able to see and talk with my wife.  We also won't discuss the fact that my guardian spent in access of $16,000 for lawyers to file for a divorce that my guardian wanted, not me.  She has the financial resources to pay for an attorney that has agreed to take my case but he is asking for a 42,500 retainer.  The guardian won't allow me to hire an attorney to get her sorry butt removed.  I guess I shouldn't be angry about that either.  I had a care conference a month or so ago.  My wife wasn't invited to it and a member of the Military was told by my guardian that he couldn't be there either.  I guess I shouldn't be angry about that either.  There is a long list of things I should not voice my anger about but I don't want to bore you with my problems.
Around 10:30 am, I am finally dressed.  It is now close to lunch time and I have to figure out how to handle a food tray and a manual wheelchair.  I haven't mastered that yet but I am getting better at it.  The food is still horrible here.  I am allergic to seafood so guess what I find on the menu for lunch.  FISH.  There is no alternate meal anymore.  I drink the milk and the dish of fruit.  Something is better than nothing.
I haven't had a shower in a week.  I am suppose to have one on Tuesday and Friday.  They won't allow me to take one by myself.  The gal that gives me a shower isn't real happy with me either.  She repeatedly fails to get the soap off me or my hair.  I have a skin condition which is irritated by this and now I have dandruff.  I guess I am not suppose to be angry about this either.
I don't know if the people around me are union or non-union.  I know that none of them are dedicated to the care of me or the other veterans around me.  I have had male nurses raise a closed fist to me.  My medical needs have been ignored by all.  They have attempted to strip my dignity and self respect every chance they get.  I was reading about all the rights that prisoners have.  The counseling.  I have to wonder why an inmate gets what I have been begging for.  But I can't get angry about that or voice my concern because I am not suppose to. 
This is quite a system the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has.  I was supportive of the privatization in hopes that the bad care givers could be dismissed without dealing with the Union.  All I want is to be treated with the same love and care I had when I was an active member of the Navy.  I loved my country then and I still love it now.  Why doesn't this country love the veteran?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Michigan Veterans Home - a Disgrace to Veterans.

The Administration of the Michigan Veterans home, called "the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans", located in Grand Rapids Michigan, is just one part of a multi-part problem that veterans have to deal with.

The state health care givers are now being replaced with contract employees, from the group called J2S.
 And the J2S workers are just another part of the problem at the Veterans Home.

 Governor Snyder has now moved to resume his program of privatization, and is issuing layoff notices to 138 direct care workers at the GRHV.  These state employees will be replaced by employees of a contractor currently known as J2S Healthforce Group, and will receive about half the wages the state workers have earned, and will receive no benefits.  So where will the dedication of these workers come from? What will keep them on the job and caring about our veterans? NOTHING. You cannot pay people sub standard pay, and expect them to stay on the job, and do a good job continuously. It just doesn't work that way in the real world.

These people will be looking for better paying jobs with better working conditions. It is not the veterans that will be driving these people - it will be their low pay and lack of professionalism of the managers at J2S that makes them leave.
    And it is the Vets that will suffer.
What is most amazing is that the Governor shows such lack of concern about the welfare of our nation's heroes; soldiers who were wounded on the battlefield for our freedom, and those who simply need a time out to reorganize their lives so that they can get back into society.

If you look at the allegations made in court about the horrible treatment offered by the employees of J2S in the past, AND the reports of what they have done already, while they were at the Veterans Home,  it truly shocks the conscience that anyone – let alone our nation's veterans – should be treated in such a manner:

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/01/24/4567577/snyder-issues-layoff-notices-at.html#storylink=cpy

* An invalid veteran fell off of the bed and broke his neck, after a contract CNA left him on the bed, unsecure, and left the room;

* A contract CNA fed a veteran by mouth, when there were specific instructions (including a sign above his bed) indicating that the veteran was not to be fed by mouth.  Later, the contract CNA pulled the feeding tube out of the veteran's stomach – the veteran was hospitalized;

* A veteran was injured when a contract CNA was trying to transfer him from the sling to a wheel chair;

* A contract CNA broke the fingers of a veteran, and bragged about it;

* Veterans being dropped by contract CNAs repeatedly;

* Veterans being left in urine-soaked beds for hours on end;

* Contract CNAs literally walking off during their shift, never to return that shift and abandoning the veterans;

* One Veteran with a Drain Tube in his Stomach, was shoved thru a door, damaging the tube, which removed by an unqualified CNA. Nothing was done to help this veteran who later left the facility and went to the VA in Battle Creek where they drained over 7 liters of fluid from of his belly area.  It could have killed him. As it was, the 8 months of lack of proper care, did his heart in and it gave out on him a short time after they got the pressure off of it, when they drained the fluid.

* And last but not the lest, let us remember the Murder of one Veteran by another, because he went to the wrong room or bed. Andy Bell on the Dementia ward, was killed by a fellow veteran patient, due to lack of proper supervision by healthcare workers.

Up until now both State and J2S workers have worked together at the home. But what next? What happens when J2S takes over all the Care Giving? How many times during this last year have people heard on the Facilities Public address system for State care workers to hold, that is not to leave, at the end of their shift, because mandatory overtime was needed.. One or more of them had to stay and work an extra 8 hour shift because some J2S worker did not show up.   Such an event was almost an every other daily event, and now it will be even worse as there will be no State workers to back up J2S.

Is that what we want the rest of the Nation to see?

It is a DISGRACE to Veterans.

Michigan might as well just shut the place down, and return those veterans to the care of the Federal VA.
That way Michigan could save even more, and the Veterans would probably end up in a better place.

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/01/24/4567577/snyder-issues-layoff-notices-at.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

J2S wins, Veterans and the State, loose.

Well, its official.  The Michigan state health care workers union at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has been broken. The change over to J2S substandard health care workers will continue.

Look, I have known 3 of the J2S workers personally for over 20 years. These acquaintances of mine are hard working people who have taken a job just to have a job. But this will not be an acceptable solution to the problems facing the Home and the states budget process.

The Governor is trying to balance the states budget on the backs of the Veterans, or so it seems to many that I have talked with.

The fact of the matter is, is that a worker needs to make 15 an hour just to break even in this State. Due to the dismal economy many are forced to take lower paying jobs. They do so, while they look for higher paying work, and they will NOT stay with the company. The turn over rate for companies that pay the lower wages, is usually high, between 30 and 60 percent.

And it is the Veterans at the home, that will suffer.

While J2S has been at the home, the union health care workers had to take up the slack when J2S could not meet its Manpower requirement. How many times did we hear on the Public Address system, that State healthcare workers could not leave at the end of their shift because overtime was needed?  That meant another full 8 hour shift, to cover a slot that was supposed to be filled by a J2S worker  that did not show.

Now that J2S will have the entire place to run, what are they going to do? Are they going to force their low paid workers to work a double shift? This is one of the complaints that were filed about them, prior to their being accepted as a contractor for this job. They said it would not happen, but here it is, happening just like people said it would.

And the Veterans at the home, suffer.

Why doesn't Michigan just admit,  that it cannot afford, or than it does not want to,  spend the money needed to care for its Veterans?  It might as well say that. Proof is the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One way to destroy a friendship

When people come together to help one another, they have to talk to each other to make their needs known.

Social networking is the norm of the day in this time. Having a network of friends and people you know who have expertise in various areas, can all be relied upon to help each other out and it benefits the whole.

One way to destroy that, is to tell people that they are stupid, or that they don't know what they are talking about when they state an opinion, even if it is done in writing or verbally. One should instead, engage the individual and question them, to bring them around so that they realize any mistakes they have made, and thus can correct them.

Failure to communicate can be the the destruction of a group or a friendship.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Leaving them in the cold to die like in 2011?.

I stopped by the Vets Home the other day. Had to go to the clinic to do some medical.  So I waddled over to the smoking tent with my cup of warm coffee and had a smoke while talking to a couple of people.

The air smelled of depression and despair, with a side of monotony.

While I was there I was told that they lost 5 guys in one weekend due to the Flu/Pneumonia outbreak.

I am told that the heat system in the Smoking tent broke down and went unrepairable for several days.

I am told that at night, the administration is now locking doors. And if a person gets caught standing outside those doors, after they get locked, they get written up - Then I was told that the 2 slider doors going out to the smoking tent were locked, forcing the guys to go out thru the front entrance and to walk all the way around the building to get to the smoking tent.

Now I do not believe that report  to be true.. that is just plain stupid, and even this administration would not do it. But it will and has, enforced a smoking by the doors ban in the winter time because some lazy people just throw their cigarette butts all over the place by the door and do not place them in the proper butt cans that are placed there.

Now if it is true, then it reeks of the winter of 2011-2012 where many guys DID have to go outside to have their smokes, and they went without heat.  And we lost a bunch that winter. We had a tent - just no heat.

I am told the Dormitory unit is down to about 45 people, in 2 man rooms. Finally. And that they are allowing the room members to use the extra space now.  Good. About time.

But no mental health or counsling is avilable yet to Dorm unit people who need it.

And Stinky is still wearing the same unwashed shirt and jeans that he had on in July.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Kills another one.

I know you all remember Billy Ray.  Billy was the veteran at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans  who was forced to endure a serious medical problem that the home refused to treat.  Billy Ray had bacterial peritonitis which caused excessive swelling in his abdomen which resulted in fluid around his heart. 
In September, 2012, a small group of concerned citizens were successful in getting Billy Ray removed to another facility.  Once there, over the course of the past four months, Billy had in excess of 40 liters of fluid removed.  He was thriving and doing well.  Unfortunately, the damage to his heart was excessive and irreparable.  This damage was caused by the excessive fluid, left untreated for months, by the administration and medical staff of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. 
Billy's heart gave up the fight.  Billy Ray is at peace now.  He died this past week and he died alone.  I am personally holding the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans responsible.  The transfer gave him four more months of life.  If the administration had acted responsibly, I wonder, would Billy still be with us. 
I was able to visit with Billy a couple of weeks ago and have talked with him several times a week since.  Billy loved the saying "Get Er Done".  The fight for Billy is over but his courage and stamina thru all will forever be remembered. 
I have to wonder.  How many more veterans have to die because the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans refuse to give adequate treatment?  Who is going to accept responsibility for veterans dying an early needless death?
Rest in peace Billy Ray.  You will be missed as you were loved.
A concerned Citizen.
ED's Note. I decided to post this, when I got it today. The name of the person who sent it will remain private, per their request.