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!

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