Thursday, February 27, 2014

Michigan Veterans Home, the new Zombie land?

I am just sickened by what I have seen this last week. I had 3 appointments at the VA clinic this week and after each one I went over to the Michigan Veterans home at Grand Rapids which is located right next door to the clinic, and visited some friends.

On Monday I spent an hour in the smoking tent area, then talked with a few guys on the Dom unit up in Rankin 3's day room. Then I went to Kozy Corners and said hello to a few of the volunteers I've known over the years, and then over to the far end of the place to the smoking booth over by the Mann building. Was nice to see some of the guys there.

On Tuesday I spent about 3 hours in the smoking tent having a pepsi with a few folks as I ate a sandwich from subway that I brought for my lunch. Then I was there again on Thursday. I also had a few cups of coffee from Kozy Corners that day. 

I could not believe how many guys were "zombied". Over drugged or drugged up to the point where I doubt many even knew were they were, let alone their own name.  My Gowd what is happening over that the home? Is this their new way of caring for our guys?

I heard that during the last Thanksgiving holiday the home had stopped drugging the guys so their families could come and get them and take them out for Thanksgiving. Either that or so the families would not know what was really happening to their loved ones.

As another poster said to this forum.. it is far easier to drop them off at the home and turn the other cheek than it is to have to face them and deal with the reality of their situation. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This is VA service to veterans OUTSIDE the home, is an insult to every veteran.

Joe here folks. Just wanted to share with you some information I just found out about from 3 other veterans.

Seems the VA is canceling  Travel pay for a lot of non service related disabled veterans who are using the VA as their main source of medical care. Now these people are being told they have to use the shuttle services..

And what a service! Its slower than greyhound and worse than the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans bus!

You get to catch a shuttle at the GR clinic that goes to Battle Creek. Then you sit around all day twiddling your thumbs, and you spend the night at their "hoptell" if you are going on to Ann Arbor. The NEXT day you continue to Ann Arbor!  So you get to Ann Arbor and go to your appointment and then if you get out in time, you can catch the shuttle back to Battle creek.

If not, you spend the night at the Ann Arbor "hoptell", and then go to Battle Creek the next day, and spend the night there, AGAIN, and then catch the shuttle to Grand Rapids.  5 days in all for  1 or 2 appointments in Ann Arbor. - but its FREE to veterans.  It's a Fu-*ing INSULT to every veteran is what it is.

Yep, I finally found something worse than "hurry up and wait".. its "hurry up and travel and wait and wait and wait and travel and wait and wait.."

And they do not pay for your meals for those 5 days.. THIS is the VA for you.  You are better off going to the local emergency room. The VA should be for ALL veterans.

The VA is Broken, it needs to be disbanded and disassembled and the veterans allowed to go to local hospitals for treatments.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Veterans Administration is Broken.

Tom W writes:

After my recent trip to the Battle Creek VA hospital, I fully agree with the article above.
The VA has just priced itself out of my health care market, and the only health care I can get now, is the local emergency room.   In April 2010, I had a massive heart attack. Ended up with a triple bypass and 4 stints put in. I get Social Security disability of 1287 a month but Defaulted Student loans take 15 percent garnishment leaving me just 1,077 a month to live on.

I get HUD VASH section 8 housing. I get State help paying my 100 dollar monthly medicare copay, and 17 dollars a month in food stamps on an EBT card.

I have a 15 year old car with PL PD insurance and a perfect driving record, but the PLPD (state minimums) still cost me nearly 90 dollars a month.

After I get done paying my housing, car insurance, electric bill, phone bill and internet bill, I usually have about 450 dollars left to Put 1 tank of gas into my car, pay for laundry, and the rest goes to food.

Until recently, I was given travel pay by the VA. But my collecting 1287 puts me over the limit for the VA.  Then Thursday the 20th that changed.. They gave me pay for one visit I had on the 9th, but denied me travel pay for that visit on the 20th to see the specialist.

Battle creek is 85 miles from Sparta, where I live. And Ann Arbor is 150 miles one way.  And with out travel pay there is no way I can go there.

So they want me to catch a shuttle in Grand rapids the day before my appointment. Go down to Battle Creek, spend the night there, go on to Ann Arbor, then catch a shuttle the next day to return to BC and again spend another night before getting back to Grand Rapids. In other words, 5 days for a 4 hour appointment; is  NOT ACCEPTABLE. But that is what they are doing.

I don't have enough money to put food on my table 4 weeks out of the month and those assholes at the VA want me to wast 4 days traveling time, without giving me a place to sleep at night, nor without feeding me the 4 travel days?  You can see they have just effectively kicked me out of VA care.

No man or woman who is a veteran should have to deal with this, or be treated like this.. but we are.

I get 1 tank of gas a month in my budget. It will take 1 tank to go to Battle Creek and back. It will take 2 tanks to go to Ann Arbor and back,  and at 4 dollars a gallon that's near 72 dollars a tank. I don't have that kind of money to spend on going to Ann Arbor or Battle Creek.

If the VA won't give me travel pay then they need to treat me locally. since they will not, I will have to wait to go to the Emergency room then the VA will have to deal with it. Shitty way to run a doctors office, if ya ask me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Earnie Meyers obstructing Greg's Return?

I just got off the phone with Greg M.  He told me that he had to go down the Battle Creek VA hospital today for an appointment with a specialist not available at the GR clinic.

When in the travel pay line, he ran into one of members of the board of managers. When he mentioned his case the guy acted as if he didn't know anything about it.

Whats up with this? Is there a new person on the board now? Or was this guy not paying attention to what was going on in that September meeting when Earnest meyers went on a 5 minute rant about Greg?

Apparently its either that, or Earnest Meyers made decisions WITHOUT consulting the rest of the board of managers..

And that makes more sense. Maybe Greg needs to write a letter of appeal directly to ALL the managers..

Greg also mentioned that he discussed the new chiller system (AC) system to be installed, and asked if they were going to do any maintenance to the Rankin building. And that the Manager told him that Rankin building had all but reached the end of its use. He said it would be cheaper to tear it down rather than fix it. And, the new model for Veterans homes are smaller ones, 125 beds, verses the WWII model where you have hundreds of people living at one location.  Apparently the Federal VA only funds up to 128 beds max per location.

And if they go that way, even with 2 new units built in the state (one on south east side, one midway around MT. Pleasant or in that area), that would still be less beds than we have today. And nothing was said about the Dom unit.

I do believe Michigan is trying to eliminate the Dom unit forever.

The Manager also said the UP home may get its own Veterans cemetery.

Monday, February 17, 2014

My take of the Board Of Managers Minutes.

Howdy folks, Joe here. Decided to catch up on a few things.
I've been reading the board of managers meeting minutes. Thought I would share a few comments.

Starting with the October meeting, it is good to see that a qualified psychiatrist is now available to the veterans at the home. One has been sorely needed over the last few years, and I think, if one had been there a few of the guys in Dom unit could have gotten the help they needed instead of being discharged from the home.

Jim Dunn reports about a lot of unsubstantiated allegations but the report does not indicate what any of them are. Perhaps this information needs to be made public. I for one think Jim Dunn needs to spend some time talking to the veterans themselves, without other staff around.

Discussion of the new Olmstead plan sounds like a good idea, but should not be seen as the means to relieve the MI Dept of Veterans of its obligations to veterans in the Dorm unit.  Some times guys just need a time out to get their lives back together or to go thru medical conditions.

I found the treatment of Greg M by the board, by the minutes reports and via the posts on this blog, to be an on going issue. Greg informs us that its a thorn in his side and he is seeking legal remedy, because he has been left no choice in the matter.  Greg tells me that Earnest Meyers, Chairman of the board has lied to him twice, and should not be trusted.  That whole case, is a travesty if you ask me. Misunderstandings on both sides of the issue. How long is this guy going to be punished for making a mistake that any one of us could have made?

The Contractor that is building the new VA clinic over by METRO hospital has made a donation that Sara D is saying will be used to buy new recliners for the members. Is this a conflict of interest? Or some kind of bribe? Makes me wonder.. but either way I am sure the guys will appreciate the new recliners. 

November meeting minutes shows discussion on moving the homes record keeping to computers. This sounds like a good idea. I sincerely hope the new computer system will be able to "talk" to the VA computers, when it comes to sharing data about Veterans and their benefits, as well as medical records.

Apparently there was an issue with one of the members who ran the poppy program for the American Legion Auxiliary. They want to ban him from having any further contact with the program.

December minutes,  David Z, a non smoker, spoke up about the doors in the hallway by Kozy corners that lead to the outside smoking area, being locked "after hours" (meaning after 10pm) for members who want to go out for a smoke at night. His inquiry was forwarded to Sara D.

Window replacement on the 4th floor of the McKleish building has been moving forward. Good.  We were beginning to wonder if anything was going to be done to that floor.

Something about Abuse and Neglect report, that is now being sent to the state legislature. I think they were concerned about complaints by veterans not being addressed properly by the administration.
Maybe Greg M needs to file a complaint with the legislature about how the board has abused him. Well, if you can call banning him from the property for life, Abuse, which is what the board has basically done.

No meeting in January.

Ok.. well, I talked to several of the guys there in the last 2 weeks, as I was over at the clinic for my yearly checkup. Got the same ole complaints.. Food sucks, lack of activities, etc.. Nothings changed there.

This Olmstead project sounds like a good idea. The idea that the home provide information about alternatives to veterans to live in our communities instead of applying at the home.  But as I stated before, is the a way for the home to eliminate the Dorm unit? Other states have dorm units. Ohio for example brags about their veterans homes, and their Dorm Unit home in Sandusky Ohio.  And is this for ambulatory veterans or is this also for disabled veterans who can live without the need of daily nursing care?  I need more information on this to make a proper decision on it.

The sad fact is that Michigan still ranks last out of all the states in getting its veterans the benefits they have earned or deserve. True, the Mi Dept of Veteran Affairs is making improvements, but they have a long ways to go to catch up to the other states. I hope they keep up their efforts. I do see where they are getting some results and improving things for the vets.

It still bothers me however, how many of the guys in the Dom unit were treated. Many were discharged for their problems with alcohol, instead of being helped. Herman and Greg for their mental health issues, just to name a few.  Seemed to me, that for a while there, the home's solution was to simply get rid of the problem by discharging the veteran. Now that the home has a proper psychiatrist staff available, I hope they have discontinued that practice.

Overall I see improvements being made at the Michigan Veterans home in Grand Rapids, but I also see it still has a long way to go. Many, many more improvements need to be made. Let us hope they continue to do so.

See ya later - Joe.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rumor Mill reports

Got a call from one of the guys.

Seems recently he asked Doctor Bates if he was his doctor or the doctor for the Guardian?

It was reported Bates threw his clipboard at the veteran and called him an a$$hole.

Not very professional if its true.. more as information becomes available.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

For the Record, the purpose of this Blog.

For the record: This blog is not here to ruin the reputation of the Michigan Veterans Home at Grand Rapids, nor the reputation of any member of the Staff, Administration, or Board of Mangers.

The purpose of this blog is to report the truth about what is happening at the home, to give the veterans there a voice they do not have or are afraid to use, and to bring about positive change in the way the administration of the home is carried out.

This blog reports the good and the bad, of what is going on at the home, when people report things to us, or when one of the 2 blog authors visits the home and sees things worth reporting themselves.

Update: In the 2+ years not one staff member of the home, administration, or board of Miss-managers, has commented on any of the articles here. And I know for a fact several of them are reading this blog. How do I know? They told me. 

They know who runs this blog, they know who writes most of the stuff. Yet they go around asking people "who runs the blog", acting as if they don't know. 

That is because instead of using their energy and so called intellect to improve the living conditions at the home for the veterans who are living there, they are instead choosing to play stupid little childish games.  

- The Ed.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

For the Record, Dr. Edgar set the standard for Professionalism at the Home.

Guys, post this to the blog:

Look, I cannot speak for the others. But it is well known in the Rankin Dom unit that there are a few people who think Doctor Edgar is a quack.

For the record I am NOT one of them.

Doc Edgar reminds me of an old country Doctor. His manner was always professional, and he did a lot for me while I was at the Dom Unit.  It was Doc Edgar who sent me to Ann Arbor to have my heart checked out, which resulted in our finding out I had serious heart issues. This lead to the life saving operation (quad bypass).

Then when I returned and was recovering, Doc Edgar and I worked on the edema in my lower legs and were still working on it when I got kicked out of the home.

I have never bashed Doc Edgar, and never will. He set the example of professionalism for his trade, unlike the others in the administration who acted very very unprofessionally while I was there.

I have and will continue to have praise for the way Doc Edgar treated me while I was at the home.

For the record - By Greg M.

Ok Greg, here it is, just as you sent it to us - The Ed.