Friday, May 31, 2013

Why does the Dorm unit Cost of Care at the Veterans home cost the State so much money?

I've written about this subject before, the cost of the Dom unit, per person. But now I am going to look at this objectively from a pure financial state of mind.

The Recent audit of the Grand Rapids home for Veterans showed major dependencies in record keeping and the handling of funds at the home.

In a state that has been in an economic depression for nearly 2 decades, the operating cost of what was once this nations 4th largest veterans home, has to stand out as a big expenditure that needs cutting.

Complaints that many member veterans at the home cannot pay their cost of care (COC) and that the state has to pick up the balance, was reported in the results of the Audit.

Maybe the reason for that, is because the home charges too much for the amount of services it renders to veterans.

In theory it should be cheaper to house, and feed 75 veterans in the same building, than if the state payed  these individuals enough to go and rent a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment.

Yet the fact is, the home is charging veterans more money, than they would get if the were on Michigan standard welfare assistance. So who is paying the difference?

The minimum charge to be at the veterans home in Dorm unit is 2100 and not all veterans are charged the same. Some pay MORE than that, and actually use less services!  One fellow paid 2100 a month, had major surgery, and even with all his medications, still paid 2100, while another guy with no medical problems, who did not take any nursing care, was charged 2900! Both had the same amount of space to live in. And both get the services of "It's not my job" Kathy, one of the 2 nurses who work a shift on the Dorm unit. At one time these guys had 24/7 nursing, with 1 nurse on duty all the time. Then the lay offs hit, and they went down to 3 nurses, then 2. Most days ya get 2 nurses, for 2 8 hour shifts. But some days you have no one on duty.  Is this why they are being charged 2100+ a month for COC?

And contrary to popular belief, the home may provide a Bed, and what it calls 3 meals a day, but the fact is the home does NOT CLOTH the veterans.  Clothing is the result of outside donations.
Medical care should cause a veterans COC to go up - and if not needed, their COC to go down. Yet that doesn't appear to be the case.

Social Security disability pays 1200 a month  - and people are expected by the Fed to survive on that.
A non veteran living on the outside, taking home 2100 after taxes, can live fairly well. Any number of apartment complexes over on alpine ave, north of the express way offer 1 and 2 bedroom apartments for 500 to 650 a month. The remaining 1400 can be used for food, clothing, and even a car payment if budgeted correctly. I would call that pretty good living for a single person. The home is not providing 800 square feet of privacy per veteran, nor clothing for the veteran, so why does it cost so much just to house a veteran at the home?

Seems to me the cost of living at the Dorm unit should be about the same as living anywhere else. And veterans should be getting the same quality and quantity of services. How does the home justify charging the state so much money?

But there is more. Recently Chief of Staff James Dunn said "Over the years our numbers have dwindled.."  Are you kidding me? For quite awhile the administration was refusing to take new admits!! ....It had nothing to do with 4th floor renovations. They were purposely not filling beds so they could contract out the State caregivers jobs.

Now they are doing the same thing to the Dormitory unit.  Kicking more out than they allow back in.
At this time last year most rooms on the Dom unit had3 guys in each one an a few had 4.  Today many have just 2 and a few have just 1.  There are plenty of applications, but the home is not accepting them.  Why?

The home complains that it veterans cannot pay their bills in full. Well, at 2100 a month I should be living like a king, not a prisoner, at the home!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Volunteer Speaks up on behalf of Veterans - Adjutant blows it off..

I stopped into the Home today because I had a VA Clinic appointment. I was given this letter and asked to publish it on the blog, but to withhold the peoples names out of fear of retribution from the Administration at the home.

Thursday March 21, 2013

From Volunteer
City, Mich

To: Major General Gregjory J Vadnaia
Director and Adjuant General
3511 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Lansing Mi 48906
517 487 8083

Dear Sir,
  My name is (withheld) and I am a volunteer at the Grand rapids Home for Veterans. I wanted to make you aware of two issues, of the many I am concerned about.

The first rule for volunteers that is supposedly enforced across the board stating that volunteers cannot bring food into the building nor can they feed, or provide flavored drinks to members (veterans) of the home. My close friend and member  (name withheld) is a Paraplegic, who only  has limited movement in his left hand and for example, I had hm his cigarette and light it for him.
(withheld) has unlimited diet without restriction and has never been chartered as having a choking hazard. However, due to this one size fits all application of this rule, I am not allowed to assist him in eating or drinking and he is falling far down in the crack of this rule and feels his rights are being taken away. He is not able to enjoy foods that we take for granted such as Delivered pizza, Burger King, McDonalds, Arbys, oriental foods, taco's, etc..

The Second issue is one of the leadership or lack thereof at the home. A Majority of the members feel that the home has been guided down the wrong path and that many of their few privileges and rights are being either restricted or taken away all together - the ship has run aground.  They have also expressed and cried out for a need for better care for them. They have said the level of care they receive has plummeted since the firing of all the state workers and that hiring of the current agency workers and not capable of providing the care because they are under-trained and under-paid.These concerns have caused the members to start a Veterans for Justice Group, within the home to act as liaison between members and Staff. Rather than the state appoint someone over the home, or appoint an ombudsman, the Veterans for Justice Group is lobbying for their strong desire to have a Veteran Leader and Advocate over the facility that is voted in and elected by the members themselves.  Veteran leadership for the veterans and by the veterans to get the home back on the right track.

It is with utmost respect that I request your help and attention with these issues. Working together with the members, will provide a positive living environment they will be proud to call home

Respectfully (name withheld).

The Response he got reads:

From The Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, Lansing Michigan. April 1st, 2013

Dear (withheld);

I am writing in response to your March 21,2013 correspondence. First, I wanted to start off by thanking your for being an active volunteer at our veterans home.  Our Veterans sincerely appreciate the care and attention that volunteers like you provide to them and their families. Volunteers can provide an additional layer of compassion that makes our veterans feel more like home.

I have asked the hospital superintendent to review your suggestion that volunteers be permitted to bring various items into the veterans home. That said, I'm sure you are aware that our homes are regulated by numerous state and federal laws and procedures that were adopted to ensure that we continue to provide save, compassionate, and consistent care to our honored veterans. Many of our veterans have various medical conditions and food allergies that may make it difficult to honor your request.  The Superintendent will forward you a letter indicating whether your request may be viable.

Secondly, while I do not necessarily share your assertions that the standard of car has been affected by the recent restructuring of the veterans home staffing, I appreciate your concern for the care of our veterans. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Signed, Gregory J. Vadnais, Major General, MING, The Adjutant General.


In other words, the Major General told the volunteer, Nothing will be done to change the current status, and that they (the politicians) do not believe that the level of care has changed despite what they are being told.

Screw the veterans again.

Wanted: 2 used Computer mini tower systems to be donated to veterans in the Dorm Unit.

We are looking for 2 used mini tower computers to be donated to veterans in the dorm Unit.
Both have monitors, keyboards, and mice, but no computer!

We need the computer to be a mini tower, have at least a 250G size hard drive. CPU should be a 1.Ghz or faster, with at least 512M of RAM memory.Preferably DDR2 Memory or DDR3.  And we would appreciate it if they had the motherboard set up disks, and ran windows XP, and if you could include those disks too.

If it runs windows xp, and doesn't take 30 mins to boot up, we can use it, with or without setup disks.

If you have a system you would like to donate, please leave us a comment, with your contact information. It will be kept private. One of our members or volunteers will contact you about picking it up. 

Thank you very much.

Donations made to Veterans for Justice will be given to veterans and not sent to a second hand store.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Attn: Congress (State and Fed), Establishing the Residency of a Homeless Veteran?

Definition of a homeless person, someone without a home.

Can a homeless person have a mailing address? Yes, it can be a friend, or relative's home address. That does not mean they live with that person.

Definition of a Resident. Someone who resides, usually within a given boundry such as a state, city or county.

Veteran in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Dorm unit - A homeless veteran. Yet some consider this to be a residence for that veteran.

You guys in congress need to address this issue. How does one prove residence if you are a homeless person who spends each night at a different location.

John called me today about this.. he is very frustrated. He uses his sisters address as an anchor point, as a mailing address so that if someone sends him something, he will get it sooner or later. His sis calls him on a cell phone, and he goes down to get his mail.  She lives in Kalamazoo county. HE is in Kent, living day to day, some days with friends, some in his car, and now that its summer, he is renting a camp site and living in a tent.  - But he has NO address connection within Kent county.

He went to the new Veterans Center on Century Ave to get help getting a place to live permanently.
He was sent to some city building on Monroe ave, 1120, where there are offices to help homeless people. The Salvation Army is running one of them. He went there and was interviewed to find out his needs. When asked to prove residency he asked HOW?

When he went to get help before, because he uses his sisters address,  Michigan DHS set him up with some help, but his case is in Kalamazoo county, 56 miles south of Grand Rapids where he is. They got him 16 dollars a month food stamps.

The City place told him to have DHS Kalamazoo transfer his file to Kent county. So when he called them and asked them to do so, they asked for AN ADDRESS in Kent county!

How is he supposed to give them an address when hes trying to GET an address?! Very Frustrating.

This is the problem we face.  You guys and gals in congress need to figure this out and fix it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thanks, Well done, Much apprecated by the guys.

3 of the Dorm unit guys at Grand Rapids Home for veterans called me this after noon and asked me to post this..

They want to say Thank you to Jen Aryers, director of Activities and Dianne Knoll, Rankin activities coordinator, for the unit picnic last night (Wednesday).  The guys said the barbecue was great, and they really appreciate the hard effort that went into putting it on.

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, Board of Managers Dishonors veterans yet again.

3 things to report today.

1st, Greg M, reported that on the 7th June, 2013, he personally handed Chief Administrator Sara Dunne his 2nd appeal for his discharge from the home. Greg is Appealing the discharge he got on 10 October 2012, when he lost his focus and his temper when the Home put a towing ticket on his car when it was parked in front of the Rankin Building when the member parking places were being taken up by staff members. Instead of verbally expressing his anger, he did so in writing so the home discharged him. - More Greyhound Therapy (shifting the problems to another source instead of dealing with them properly themselves.)

2nd, Today It was reported to me, that the there was a board of managers meeting. Greg was not informed, nor did he get the opportunity to address his second appeal. This is seen by Greg as another example of the Home denying him due process.

But more importantly it was reported by 2 people who attended the meeting, that a man spoke up to the board about concerns some members who belong to the Non Profit group Veterans for Justice had about the way the home was being operated.

It was reported to me by both people, that James Dunne, Chief of Staff of the board of managers, replied "If they do not like it, they can leave".

No room for discussion here, no invitation for concerned veterans to come to the board meetings and voice their concerns.  James reply was clear: " Put up or shut up". Even people in prison have a right to speak up. But not our Veterans.

How this man can be an advocate for veterans at the home with that kind of attitude, is beyond my ability to understand.

Tell me James Dunne, where are these veterans going to go? Many are there because they have no were else to go. The Home's original purpose was to get veterans off the street, and out of the poor houses, yet you want to use Grey Hound Therapy and send more to the streets.

So lets see, at least 5 former residents of Grand Rapids home for Veterans have died on the streets and in the fields surrounding Grand Rapids, so far this year. And you want to add to that number?!

Where is the professionalism? James claims the home gives excellent health care, and I called him to the table with that lie, here on the blog.

James Dunne has yet again clearly and blatantly dishonored our veterans who live at the facility.He has made it clear that they have no voice in how the home is being run, nor do the board members care what the veterans think. He is helping to make the home into a prison for these souls who put their lives on the line for this country.

James Dunne needs to be removed from his job and replaced with someone who cares about the veterans. His attitude towards the concerns of the resident veterans is proof why Congress McGreggor's proposal of an independent ombudsman/representative for the resident veterans is needed so badly.

It is clear by the historical record that James Dunne is NOT a veteran who is for Veterans. I have no idea what his true purpose is, but caring for our veterans obliviously is not part of his goals.

If the state of Michigan is going to run its veterans home like this, it might as well shut it down and save taxpayers millions of dollars.. and it can go down in history as the first state to totally shun its veterans.

3rd, it is also being reported that Chief of Staff James Dunn stated that he would like to see every post commander (VFW) to contact their state representatives to support the current ombudsman, Earnie Meyers, who is a member of the board and is ineffectual and does not represent the need of the veterans at the home, to remain as such and not bring in an independent outside person. I guess James Dunn does not want the rest of the state to know what  is really going on at the home.

Earnest Meyers was appointed the veterans home ombudsman in response to State Congressman Peter McGreggor's attempt to get an independent advocate for the veterans at the home.

Earnest Meyers is available to the residents of the home for a limited time on the days the home hosts the monthly board of managers meetings - about 10 days out of the year.

UPDATE: I am being told this was NOT an open board meeting, but rater a closed door session.  We need to find out what it really was.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans: Stealing Gifts given to Veterans - more missing money.

This comes from several sources, and based on my own experience at the home, I have no doubt that this kind of thing is going on.

If you are a homeless veteran with NO income, the veterans home charges some one for your stay. You are given 5 dollars a week for personal use.

If you have a pension, or collect social security retirement or disability, you pay the full amount of the cost of your care. If you cannot pay the full cost, you have pay all that you can except 100 dollars. Anything else, until the amount is paid, must be used to paying off the balance due for that month.

This creates a problem.

If someone gives you money as a gift, you might be able to keep it and use it. But if someone makes a gift to you by depositing money into your bank account - the home takes the money - and you never get it.

According to 3 different people, every year on its birthday, the US Marine Corps deposits 25 dollars into the account of every marine at the home. There is just one problem - the Dorm guys have never seen the 25 dollars.

This is another case of missing money, of donations not getting to veterans, and yet another case of the home stealing from the veterans.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Is the Veterans Home using "Greyhound therapy" to solve its problems?

The term "Greyhound Therapy" was coined some time in the late 70s or early 80s when state mental institutions would put unwanted patients on Grey hound buses with one way tickets to cities in other states. In other words, they would pass their problems on to others, instead of taking care of them.

Is the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, guilt of the same thing? In a state of which the US Federal government has blasted for its lack of providing proper benefits to veterans, one must wonder why the Michigan Veterans Home in Grand Rapids appears to making things worse for veterans, instead of helping them, and thus justifying the criticism coming out of W.D.C.

All involuntary discharges from the Grand Rapids Home for (?!) veterans, for the last 48 months need to be looked at more closely. I think you will find that 74 percent of them qualify for the status as "Grey hound therapy" even if the bus lines were not used as part of the home's solution.

When Veterans needed mental help, there was none available. So the home discharged them. A professional Psychiatrist has not been on staff since 2009. The Federal VA clinic seems to be more focused on those veterans who are suicidal, and those that have severe mental issues that are combined with anger and acting out.

But what about the veteran that has depression which is the result of major surgery or a catastrophic incident that has taken place in their lives lately? Some of these guys suffer from the human version of what in computers, they call "information overload".  These guys need help dealing with daily issues, or coping with long term problems. The stress created by these problems can be as  debilitating as any combat wound.

For example, A veteran who served 10 years from 1980 to 1990. Went out to the civilian world and became self sufficient, paying his own way thru life. Then BAM! Nafta hits. Within 2 years, this man has used up all his savings, trying to stay afloat, and has exhausted all government unemployment benefits, yet still cannot find a job. He finds himself homeless and destitute.  That would qualify him to apply for residency at the veterans home. But as a result of having to deal with all that, he now is angry all the time, gets irritated easily, or withdraws into himself and walks around mumbling to himself.

Or perhaps he just doesn't know how to function anymore, and has lost his self confidence. Guys like this need help too - help they are not getting at the veterans home. 

These are the guys the home has failed to help. And instead of helping them when they have an episode of anger or whatever, the home discharges the veteran rather than address the issues. And when you get discharged under these conditions it demeans you. A discharged veteran cannot return to the home as a resident. He/she is not allowed on the campus, even to visit during regular hours. If they do come for a visit, they are subject to being arrested for trespassing according to handbook policy.

Is that why Michigan taxpayers are paying for a veterans home?  So we can run them thru for a short period of time, then throw them to the street when the home is done using them?

According to the recent State of Michigan Audit, a Certified professional Psychiatrist was supposed to be on staff, but since 2009, they have not had one. Why? Can't the state afford to pay one? Or are the working conditions so bad, that none in the profession wants to work at the Veterans Home?
There is no excuse as to why the home does not have one on staff, especially in light of the Audit's report of the kinds and types of psychiatric drugs being issued to veterans at the home.

And if the home cannot cope with a veteran, its greyhound therapy - they kick him out. This is another reason why this Home has become a disgrace to veterans, and why Michigan should be ashamed that it has let it happen to the very people who put their lives on the line for this countries continual freedom.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stupid people who don't have a clue, just want to spew.

I have been asked to publish this 2 person conversation that took place on Facebook. It concerns the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the Home Depot contest.

DB writes to GRF: "Kindly spend less time on your butt/plaing games on a computer.If your only remark about the Veterans Home is the audit,it tells me(and others) you're Lazy,self-absorbed,selfish and probably never chose to be kind to a lonely veteran at the facility.Go play a card game w/one of them,stop feeling you're allowed to criticize until you're part of the solution.Signed,HELEN'S Daughter."

GRF responds to DB:  "Lady, you don't know SH*T about me. I have been part of the solution for longer than you have had a brain that actually functioned. I have been politically active in many areas for over 30 years, and only recently focused my attention on the veterans home, because I WAS THERE AS A RESIDENT FOR 2 YEARS, and have decided to do what I can to bring about changes to the home to make things better for the veterans. Many guys feel they are IN PRISON there. That is not good. I have brought up valid points both on comments on the news media pages, and the blog about GRH4V that I co-write, and still maintain.
As for my game playing on line, that is my business as I am retired.. And I can do as I please as I have EARNED my Right to do it.
If you don't like that, move to Russia. "

DB then again responds to GRF : "   You're just vulgar.,and 2 years,well seems they probably made you leave.If you had not been so vulgar,unstable in your published remarks under what I believe to be 2 "names",perhaps people would take your comments seriously,work w/you.I ,too,know many employees,patients,adminitrators,etc at the home,recently had an uncle(highly decorrated veteran) stay there.Problems,yes,but most vets end up there due to their own families deciding to abandon them,if your vet friends feel they are in prison,more reason for you to visit,share your gaming skills,keep advocating for more public and private money.By the way if you know of a specific vet who hates the home,you're retired,money enough to pay for internet,etc,take a vet into your home.That's what true patriots would do.My uncle required skilled care,but we visited him EACH WEEK.Whenwas the last time you visited a vet,or aren't you allowed on the property?I'll pray for you,your anger/bitterness has made you a sad-broken man,probablylonely ,too."

GRF then Sends his final Response to DB: "
You really do not have a clue, do you little girl? Vulgar? I haven't even started. I was there for 2 years and left because it was time for me to leave. I was in the Dormitory unit where I was recovering from major surgery after they took out fragments from my lower back and legs, which I got in Desert Storm. I lost 3 of 5 of my team that day, 2 of them very close friends.
Most vets do NOT end up there because of family abandonment. That is where you don't have a clue.
And yes, I do have another vet living with me.. Its cheaper to live like this, (with a roommate) when government only gives you less than poverty amounts to live on after they use you up.
Lets see. last time I was there.. last Monday. And I will be there next Tuesday as I have another appointment at the VA clinic. I stop in and visit the guys when ever I or John have an appointment at the Clinic. But I don't need to explain all this to you.
The fact is, the home is asking people for money to pay for renovations of one of the newer buildings when the oldest one is falling apart. There as no reasonable reason to shut down the 4th floor of the McLeish building. And since these are State property buildings, why isn't the state of Michigan paying for the renovation and upkeep of those buildings? Isn't that what my tax money is supposed to be paying for (In part)?
Now go and grow up, and when you have accomplished that, maybe you will understand what is really going on there - the fact that Michigan says it cares for its Veterans, yet in truth does not, as it will not pay for upkeep of its own buildings where it houses them."

Blog editors note:

In truth, GRF should also have said that the little girl DB couldn't even write a proper sentence with proper punctuation. She presumed too many things, and that makes people like her look STUPID.

Update: This Person, DB, is a 50 year old, not a 13 year old, who can't even write a proper sentence with proper punctuation.  AND the Mother of this woman, is a resident of the home, but is not a VETERAN! She is the wife of a veteran who got into the home when the home was also accepting spouses of veterans.

Why is The Veterans Home begging the public for money for upkeep and repairs?

Does Governor Rick Snyder care about veterans? He says he does. Does the State congress care about the veterans? They say they do.

If that is true, then can someone please leave me a comment, explaining why Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is begging the public for money to pay for repairs and/or upkeep of one of the 3 main buildings that house the veterans?

The McKleish building is the center most building at the home. It has 4 floors. Right now the home is involved in a contest being held by Home Depot, for a major monitory prize, of which the Home has stated in public (on the news media sites), that if it wins the big jackpot, it will use the money to help renovate the 4th floor.

Wait a minute here. Isn't this a STATE owned facility? Isn't the upkeep the responsibility of the State of Michigan?

And why is the home spending money on one of the newest buildings, when the Rankin building which is the oldest of the 3, needs major repair? Case in point: The hole in the ceiling of the Rankin floor 2 shower room that goes all the way up to the 3rd floor!

Now its bad enough that this hole has been there since before 2010, and that there is no vent system in the shower room, to vent the excess moisture from the room.. This means the room is subject to mold build up, and many times veterans have gone in to use the showers, to find the showers themselves and the curtains covered in black mold.

Shouldn't this kind of thing be repaired and fixed before the home dumps money into room changes on the 4th floor in one of the newest buildings?
Please let me know if I am wrong here, but shouldn't the State of Michigan be paying for these repairs?! I know the wheels of government turn slowly, but its 2013 and that hole in the ceiling should have been fixed 3 years ago!

Or do we need to put Sara Dunn or Tiffany Carr in front of another TV camera to beg for money for this repair too?

Monday, May 13, 2013

GRH4V Expelled veteran: would he return to Dorm Unit if given the chance?

I bumped into one of the guys who got discharged from the home for drinking, at the VA clinic last week. We got ourselves a coke and went outside to the wooded area next to the clinic and sat down and had a nice conversation.

I told him of my discharge, and how I was targeted for expulsion. He agreed with me on that issue.

I asked him if he could would he return to the Dorm unit.

"That", he said, "I am not sure I could do under present circumstances."

He told me he had gotten counseling and had stopped drinking. His social security disability finally got approved with the help of a lawyer. He was living on 1200 a month, staying at a local hotel. Come to find out a lot of past members of the home, were at local hotels, paying special rates for a room for a month at a time, instead of getting an apartment or something. They are not getting any help from VA reps, or anyone. Seems to me they would qualify for section 8 housing somewhere, but like he said, "most of the section 8 housing is in high crime areas, with lots of minorities and lots of trouble.". He went on to say he was trying to avoid the trash people that usually end up at such places. The willful welfare people who never tried to work a day in their lives.

"I miss the camaraderie, the feeling of belonging to a group of guys who all share common experiences. Being around fellow veterans. Kind of like being part of an exclusive club. And for a while there, I finally felt at ease with myself. I was starting to get things together, despite my drinking. That was something I had to deal with eventually, but it got me kicked out sooner rather than later like I had planned."

"I miss going on the unit trips, the Veterans verses staff softball games, Playing bingo, and although I was not good at it, making poppy flowers. I miss sitting around the supper table chatting with friends, and going for bike rides in the summer time. I miss the fishing tournaments we had. Man, that pond is looking worse each year! Haha.

"But I do not miss the people who constantly asked for smokes. The same people every day, day after day. I do not miss the attitude of the staff of the Dom unit. Space Kadet Kathy, and her thinking of us as inmates.. I do not miss that at all. Nor the extremely dry air we got in winter time, and their refusal to do anything about it. My nose was constantly bleeding inside, due to the extremely dry air they had in the winter time. And their refusal to allow the guys to use humidifiers in their rooms at the time, no I don't miss that at all.

"I do not miss the frustration of the Member council meetings that were nothing but bitch sessions, and completely ignored by the staff members. Oh they showed up, when they wanted to complain to us, or threaten us with something - usually for something someone else on other units were doing.

"But most of all, I do miss the feeling of not worrying if I was going to have a warm bed, and a hot meal, (despite the low quality food they fed us).  At least it was a bed, and a meal.

'The thing that is really preventing me from re-applying is the current administrator. I will not re apply even if I am disabled and can no longer function, as long as Sara is top administrator. I watched her destroy that place. At one time it was a home for veterans. Now go there and look at the guys, talk to them.. many feel that they are in prison. Now its just a place to go to wait to die - and not a good one at that.

'They blame it on the economy. And pigs fly. Yeah, it is that way because of poor leadership, poor administrative decisions, and lack of accountability of the staff members.

"So No, I will not re-apply. Not any time soon. "  We continued to talk about things and his hope for the future. He will be qualified to collect regular social security retirement in just 3 years. Right now he is trying to get into an independent living retirement community. But wishes he could find one that is just for veterans.

Veterans for Justice (NPG) holds Bingo at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

The Non profit group Veterans for Justice, created by member veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, has announced that it is sponsoring its first bingo at the home.

Money raised by V4J members will be used to hold a Bingo in the APR room on 20th May.

State Audit:The report is in; The question now is what to do about it.

Well, as many of us knew, the States audit of the Veterans Home in Grand Rapids, came out, and it was not very flattering of the administration of the home.

Many folks are mistaken in their belief that this is a Federal Facility. It is not. It is a State Facility ran by the State of Michigan. It has changed over the years, but its basic function remains the same: A place for veterans to call Home, and a place for wounded veterans to heal up before returning to society if they can.

The audit gave the home a passing grade of C, or Average. That is not good enough. These are veterans, many combat veterans who have paid a price for their service. Both phases of the American military system are present: Those who participated in the military during the time of the Draft, and those who came afterwards who participated in the All Volunteer Military which as been the standard since 1973.

The biggest issue is accounting. This covers a wide range of subjects. Also covered by the report were the quality of food served, and the veterans being given access to information and benefits they required to be given, and in some cases are entitled to, via the Federal Veterans Administration.

Lets start with accounting.
Every dollar that comes in to the home, should be accounted for. Every dollar spend, accounted for. The home should be able to show where and how much money came in from what source, and where it was eventually used or spent.

From Donations, to payments from the Michigan Solders fund, to payments from Veterans disability pensions, any money that comes in should be accounted and shown where it came from and where it went.

And each veteran or member at the home should get at least, a  bi monthly, or (due to cost effectiveness) quarterly statements showing how much they paid, (or their pension paid), how much was charged to them, and where any other funds came from that were used to pay for part of their room and board, or health care. Also, within 15 days of their arrival, they (or their guardian) should be given a complete copy of the contract they signed when they applied. And copies of any other agreements where they had to sign their signature.

Any money coming in from the State to pay for the "payroll" of workers, needs to be accounted for. 
Job titles of all state workers, their job descriptions telling us what they actually do, and their pay scales needs to be publicized so that the taxpayers of Michigan can see what they are being charged.

Any money coming in for donations, needs to be accounted for.  Use of a "general fund" needs to be eliminated and money specifically earmarked for usage for specific needs, needs to be imposed.

Too many times in the last few years, donations meant for veterans were taken by staff members. This practice must stop. Understand staff members that work during holidays and special events will participate in those events (such as cook outs), and the veterans have no objections to them eating with us. But we do object to having donations made to the veterans, being used to provide for staff only functions.

And when Carhart winter jackets were donated for the the DOM unit, and the guys in Dom never saw them, this is not good. Nor the taking of the Brans Gift cards, or the Meijer gift cards that were donated for specific purposes but ended up being used for other things.

There needs to be an inventory done of all storage areas where donations and/or supplies are stored so that the home knows what it has on hand NOW. I know for a fact that during my stay at the Home, the Dorm unit had a closet where about 20, 12 inch yard balls (deflated) were stored and never used nor made available to members. IF things are donated, they need to get to veterans, not shoved into a closet and forgotten.

A better accounting of donated clothing, to be matched up with a list of needs, should be done. Lots of people are donating clothing the home does not need. By making a list available of what it does need, perhaps the home then can start obtaining items needed, and which will be used, instead of seeing the same stuff in the clothing room shelves for years on end.

And those are just a few accounting suggestions.. More later.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Law proposed to require reporting of abuse at Veterans home.

Michigan Senator Vincent Gregory has sponsored an amendment to SB 187, the Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs appropriation bill, that would establish reporting requirements for abuse at the veterans home.

Appropriating Funds for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
SB 187 Passed 33-3
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for FY 2013-2014.
Next: Sent to the Michigan House of Representatives, where the bill was referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.
Note: My amendment for establishing reporting requirements for abuse at the state-run veteran homes was adopted as part of this budget. You can watch a video of my statement on the need for this amendment here:

Why waste more taxpayer money when the GRH4V cannot account for what they have now?

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, on Thursday said he will seek an additional $725,000 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans after a recently published audit uncovered pervasive problems.
The state auditor general's unflattering report, released Wednesday, detailed multiple deficiencies in psychiatric care at the home, and found weak controls to avoid misuse, loss or waste of pharmaceuticals, food and medical supplies.

Amongst other things. If they cannot account for funding here, then why give them more money? Seems kind of stupid to me.

I noticed they tore up the main entrance. Someone told me the Veterans Home is finally getting that overhead awning, or cover, that they have wanted but always said they did not have enough funds for.

Kind of like the money for the 4th floor right?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Feds investingating Veterans home.

I've waited to post this one, but now feel it is time to pass the news on.

I was commenting on the website CITY DATA, and this fellow contacted me from one of my posts there.

I was asking the city data people, about low income housing for veterans on limited incomes, in the GR metro area.. This was in September of 2012.

Here is what the guy had to say:

Hello Mac, 

I read your post seeking information about moving out of GRHV. My name is Will Schell and I work for the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.

My office is investigating GRHV and I would like to speak to you about your experience at GRHV and the difficulties you have had in moving out of the Dom unit. GRHV should be helping you move out and I want to discuss what they have and have not done.

Please call or email me. I do not want to discuss any details online. I would rather speak to you on the phone.

Please call me at: 202-205-3790
or email me at:


 Well, I called and talked to Will. Seems the home is required to assist people moving out of the home. However, nothing was said about people of whom the home discharged involuntarily. (kicked out).

And due to the recent Audit of the home, I think we see that this is just one of many issues that need addressing.

Oh, you can find the original postings on City data  website, in the Grand Rapids Michigan Metro forum.

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans: Taxpayers paying to much for Dorm Unit Veterans?

Understanding that medical costs, and full time, quality nursing care is expensive, this entry will not go into the cost of having a veteran in a nursing unit at the Veterans home. We have some very highly qualified, and dedicated nursing staff at the home, that work on various specialized units and these people earn their pay the hard way - they work!

No, this post is about the Dormitory unit where Ambulatory veterans are housed.  As described in previous postings, the veterans assigned to Dom unit,  get assigned to one of the average 4 man rooms. There are a few 2 man and a few single man rooms, but the majority of the rooms are 4 people.

The average room has 4 beds, each with an 8x9 foot area for their bed, dresser and small table, separated only by a curtain. These 4 guy share a common toilet room with 1 toilet and a sink,  and the main room also has a sink. There are 4 stand up lockers as well.

Then, ALL the men on the unit, about 50 on each of the 2 floors of the dorm unit, share a common Shower room, 1 to each floor. Each Shower room has 3 showers and a bathtub, and not all are working all of the time. So on Rankin 3 for example, up to 50 guys share 3 showers and a tub.  The only privacy the veteran has, is when their curtain is pulled, and they have about 72 square feet of privacy.

Their medical is paid for. Their 3 meals(?!) a day is paid for, and they get a chance to see the Doctor twice a week. This for the beginning price of 2100.00 per month. Clothing and extra necessities are donated to the home.

There are 3 laundry rooms available in their unit. At the North east end of each floor, by the number 9 service elevator is a laundry room with 1 washer and 1 dryer. On Rankin 2, there is another room with 4 washers and 4 dryers for a total of 6 each for about 100 people. Powered soap is provided. Anything else, the veteran has to provide for him/her self.

Why does this cost so much money, for so little space?  Like mass production the housing costs should be lower, not higher than that of living outside the home.

I will use Bill as our test subject. Bill made 13 dollars an hour and worked 50 hours a week in 2007. Filing single for taxes, he took home 542.00 a week, or about 2100 a month.

Out of his 2100 a month, Bill paid 530 a month for a 2 bedroom, bath and a half, first floor apartment, with garage, that was about 800 square feet. He paid 150 a month for car payment, and provided all his own food, and also had a 200 dollar a month tool bill (for his trade, work related)..  Bill lived alone. He had access to a laundry room at the apartment complex, so had to pay 1.50 per wash load, and 1.75 per dryer load. Bill figures he spend about 50 bucks per month on washing cloths and getting soap, softeners, etc..

Bill also paid electric, cable TV, Cable Internet,  Land line telephone, and a utility fee to cover garbage removal and grounds maintenance of the apartment complex where he was.

And at the end of the month, he always had money in his pocket for other things.

Now why does the home charge so much for so little space, and for substandard meals for people in the Dom unit? They don't even provide clothing for the veterans - Bill paid for his own out of his 2100 take home pay. Clothing for veterans in Dom unit are donated items.

Seems to me that Michigan taxpayers are paying way way more than the should be, for what little service the veterans of Dom unit, get.  And the veterans themselves, if they have a pension or are on Disability, also are paying way more than they should have to.

Governor Snyder wants to cut costs at the home. Nothing wrong with that. But it should not be costing dorm unit guys 2100 a month for what they get.

Social security disability pays 1200 a month, retires on SS get about the same. Why does that government expect you to live on 1200 and yet the home charges 2100?

Now I just learned that some guys in Nursing units get charged as much as 24,000 a month! OMFG, you gotta be kidding me. That is a crime in progress.. 24 THOUSAND a month for nursing care?  what are they using, gold plated toilet paper?

Someone is milking the veterans.. They are being over charged, and not getting services they should be getting..This is nothing short of a criminal act of stealing from our veterans. It needs to be looked into.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Who is the Local media protecting? Why are they not reporting this news?

In the previous post, taken from,  1047 works were used to report about the results of the audit of the Grand Rapids Home for veterans. is the website for the local news paper, Grand Rapids Press.
At TV Channel 13, they wrote 267 words.
At TV Channel 17 used 113 words.
At TV Channel 8, - the station that many people consider to be the heart of all news covering Grand Rapids Metro area - NOTHING. Zero. 0 words. The article isn't even mentioned.

My question is this: Who are these media people protecting? Why aren't they reporting about this? It is important, to Michigan taxpayers.

Wood TV, you have disgraced yourself. Shame on you.

And I know for a fact, that at least 3 people over the last 2 years have gone to WOOD for help in exposing some of the stuff going on here, but they never got any help. Seems someone at WOOD is running blocker for someone or something to do with the veterans home.

VINDICATION at last! Now lets see what they will DO with it.

From's website, the following article, in full:
(Here is the full article.)

By Zane McMillin |
Follow on Twitter
on May 01, 2013 at 11:23 AM, updated May 01, 2013 at 1:09 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans' lack of an on-site, board-certified
psychiatrist jeopardizes its residents' access to timely care and might skirt federal regulations, Michigan's auditor general has found.

In a report released this week that mainly centered on the home's handling of its finances, Auditor General Thomas McTavish faulted the home in multiple areas and found it was overall "moderately effective" at delivering select services.

The audit was conducted between March and September 2012, and covered a span from October 2009 to September 2012.
It was published on the auditor general's website this week. According to its contents, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs already was addressing the issues.

The lack of an on-site, board-certified psychiatrist was among the more prominent findings in the report, which painted a somewhat unflattering image of a home struggling to adequately safeguard against financial waste.

The home spent $50.3 million in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2012, the report found. This year more than 140 unionized, state-paid caregivers were pink-slipped and replaced with contracted caregivers after a bruising fight against privatization.

State officials have estimated that move will save $4.3 million. McTavish's report found no reportable incidents with regard to nursing care, but his office is constitutionally empowered to solely examine state agencies' finances.

The audit did find, however, a reportable incident as it related to psychiatric care, or lack thereof. The home's contracted, in-house psychiatric services provider pulled out in August 2012, citing other clients' needs, which left the facility without on-site mental care.

When the audit was conducted, nearly 41 percent of the home's 502 residents required antipsychotic medication. Because it lacks an on-site psychiatrist, the home had turned away prospective residents with mental health issues, the report found.

Now, the home's four in-house physicians administer, monitor and occasionally amend dosages instead of an on-site psychiatrist.

Federal regulations require "appropriate treatment and services" for mental health patients at veterans home, and the report found an on-site psychiatrist would be better equipped in this regard than in-house physicians.
The DMVA had tried recruiting an in-house psychiatrist in spring 2012, the audit found, but was unsuccessful in finding a qualified candidate.

Among its other findings were ineffective safeguards over food and maintenance and medical supplies, and "moderately effective" safeguards over its pharmaceutical inventories.

The report found the "moderately effective" pharmaceutical safeguards meant the home could not ensure medication would not be misused, lost or wasted. It valued the annual value of pharmaceuticals discarded because of scant inventory procedures at $103,800.

The home also was found to have insufficient controls over monetary and other gifts received by outside parties, and could not sufficiently account for monthly member fees and disbursal of its residents' personal funds.

Auditors surveyed 44 residents about the level and quality of care in the facility, and found 84.1 percent were satisfied. Other interviews were conducted with nurses and other staff.

The DMVA had taken steps to address some of the issues prior to the report's release. Below are some notable summaries of its findings:
• The home has been without a board-certified, on-site psychiatrist since August 2011, when a Grand Rapids-area mental health services provider pulled out of a five-year contract inked in 2010 to meet obligations to its other clients.
Home leaders last solicited help from the DMVA in finding a contracted psychiatrist in June 2012, but as of April 2013, a request for bids had not gone out.
The auditor general noted the DMVA insisted the four in-house physicians that now attend mentally unstable residents are capable of providing adequate care, but conceded that it would "make great clinical sense" to have an on-site psychiatrist.
• Residents' access to timely medical care also was jeopardized by the home's inability to ensure effective creation and execution of comprehensive care plans.
Such plans are conducted on an annual basis to identify each resident's personal "physical, mental and psychosocial needs" and pinpoint potential future problem spots.
A random sampling of 36 assessments found some were not completed within 14 days of a resident's admission, and not all "periodic narratives necessary for consistent monitoring of care plan goals and interventions" were carried out.
The DMVA said it was addressing the issue, and would be implementing an electronic records system within the next two years in an effort to more effectively monitor patients' care.
• Between Oct. 2009 and May 2012, the home spent $7.5 million on food, maintenance supplies and medical supplies, but did not have an inventory system to properly account for all purchases.
The report found employees' duties with respect to food and medical supplies were not adequately defined, and that many employees had unsupervised access to "all areas where the home received and maintained food, maintenance supplies and medical supplies.
According to the report, the DMVA already has authorized an assessment of security measures at the home, and will examine various inventory software and other systems for implementation.
• The home discards roughly $103,800 worth of pharmaceuticals each year, a symptom of the home's inability to safeguard its pharmaceutical inventories.
This allowed for possible abuse, loss or waste, according to the report. Employees' duties with regard to pharmaceuticals was not clearly defined, and there was no tracking system in place for lost or discarded prescriptions, the report found.
Still, the home implemented new policies governing inventory and tracking of prescription medication in February this year, according to the DMVA.
• The home spends more each month on resident care than it gathers in fees to help pay for such services.
It cost $24,381 per month in the 2012 fiscal year to provide care, but the home only collected $15,260 in fees from residents, per levels approved by the home's board.
By Sept. 30, 2012, only a fraction of residents at the home were capable of paying monthly fees in full, the report found.

There were 502 residents when the report was conducted in 2012, down from 693 in 2009. As of Sept. 30 last year, only 43 residents paid their monthly fees in full.

The audit noted home leaders could increase the monthly assessment, but that members who are able to pay current rates might have insufficient additional money to pay.

A full copy of the report, and its summary, may be viewed here.

 END of News,

Start of Comments:

Moderately effective - in other words, a  "C" Grade  - average.
OMG, here I was concerned over the cost being charged to Dorm unit people and I find out from this report that medical unit people can be charged up to 24,000 a month.. If that is not a criminal act in progress, I don't know what is..

I do know that Governor Snyder wants to get more bang for the buck.. well, find out why its costing 2100 a month to house dorm unit people, when it should be less than 800..

Find out why they are charging up to 24 thousand a month for nursing care, and find ways to do the same, cheaper..