Saturday, December 5, 2015

WZZM, channel 13, are you going to continue your investigations of G.R. Home for Veterans?

Well, I see this week WZZM has not published another article about the ongoings at the veterans home.

Are they going to continue to investigate claims made against the home and the administration? Or are they going to stop with J2S, and wait to see what this new so called administration is going to do to correct the problems created by the previous one which had help from the states government itself?

Yes Governor Snyder and the Michigan Congress both are partially responsible for what happened at the Vets home over the last 6 years. Will WZZM look into that? Or call it quits now?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Smoking tent us back up, but is it legal?

Well, once again, the veterans at the veterans home will face yet another winter of having to go outside and o travel a short distance to a smoking tent set up in the Big Pavilion, just outside of Kozy Corners.

While other retirement homes have exemptions to the non smoking indoors rule, the Michigan veterans home in Grand Rapids does not.

Veterans have to go outside, to an area about 50 feet by 25 feet wide, that is heated. It is protected from the wind and snow and weather by tarps that form a tent.

Now some people question whether or not this thing is even legal, for fire safety purposes.  There are 2 entryway/exits made up of hanging plastic sheets.  Easy to get into, easy to get out of. Still, other places have exemptions to the smoking rule, why not the Veterans home - these guys earned it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Wzzm, Good start, but when are you going to address some of the other issues?

Wzzm 13 has done a number of articles about the lack of proper care of our veterans at the home.

But they post them during the 11pm news. IF it is important for our community, why are they not showing them at the 6pm news show?

And when are they going to address some of the other issues?

Rick Snyder didn't hand pick Sara. Jim Dunn changed the qualifications for the job of Administrator of the Home so that Sara could have the job. Sara Dunne was Jim Dunn's and Ernie Meyers puppet. She was the only person that they could push under the bus, like they have done, and be left unscathed by the results. I see Sara, down the road, having to face criminal charges.

If the new CEO found some J2S employees sleeping on the job as reported by several veterans at the home,  that isn't a 30 days without pay punishment, its an immediate termination. Why weren't they fired? Why didn't J2S fire them? 

I see the members of the Board of Managers sitting back and smiling over all this coverage. When are we going to get to the real issue of what is wrong at the Home? When are the numerous deaths with questions going to be reported? When is the fact that the doctors at the Home have been instructed to drug the patients rather than allow them to live a life with some normalcy?

When is there going to be a report about all the missing money? By my calculations, there is close to $1.4 million that is unaccountable on the awning.

When is it going to be reported that doctors at the Home are prescribing drugs of a Class 3 nature without a state license to do so?

And the ombudsman issue. When will that be addressed?  Or how veterans discharged from the home are banned from the property and threatened with arrest for trespassing if they go to visit friends who are still at the home?

The "big brother" internet policy of the home blocking veterans from going to some sites? And what about the internet? The homes internet is practically non existent.

Or the crap the volunteers have to go through? I can post their 3 page form they have to use, (or did use at one time).

And the abuse of the veterans by the state imposed Guardians and/or Conservators?

Lastly, when is somebody going to do a report on the fact that my friends veteran was murdered? Murdered by their use of State imposed Guardians, and incompetent doctors who forced him to take a drug he did not need which lead to his death? How many other veterans have died under similar circumstances? I bet more than just a handful.

I hope WZZM continues its investigation and eventually addresses some of these issues. If not then this whole thing is just another waste of time and our veterans will continue to suffer at the hands of the State. And I for one will start to work to get this place shut down by the VA.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What others have posted here.

I looked through the comments section today and decided to post a collection of some of the comments for your reading enjoyment. Every comment is already published at the appropriate article.  So none of this is new.

justin castleman  June 14, 2014 at 1:31 AM      Justin is a former member of Rankin 3, Dorm unit.

well first off, i will say good on you for writing this blog, im not afraid to say my name.. im justin castleman, and i find grhv disgusting. its a trap for the able and unable alike, for the dom guys, go ahead and get a job, but werer going to take just about all your money, then kick you out and give you no shot at making it on you own... but wait if you stay, were gonna take your pension and all benefit money you get. also dont worry were gonna open your mail and put a fat balding incomptent prick named dwigt ferguson in charge of you... nevermind the fact the man has the moral decency of a streaker or a alcoholic. its a shame our nations hero's are nothing more than a non personal cash cow for there un precidented ignortant ways.
i for one support this site.. and i pray one day that good for nothing twit sara dunn and her secret lover, that fillipino midget fonzy gary davis fall of the face of the earth.. because i have seen death row inmates with better personalties.

AnonymousJune 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM

The Administrator does know who you are - she has told me both your names. She does not read this blog anymore as much of the information is false and not even based on any facts. I am an employee of the Home, in a management position. I do not know you, but I do know that what you post is very subjective and opinionated.

Both of us? LAMO that proves you know nothing. (comment added today). Oh and that commenter above, was Eric Alderman.

Mike MartinOctober 9, 2012 at 4:10 PM

As a fellow veteran, I think your behavior is a disgrace. You have your own weaknesses and flaws and instead of addressing them, you chose to print lies and attack other people. Most of the time your information isn't even correct. You do not represent the members at the Home, you only represent yourself. You need to grow up, plain and simple. Try acting like a Vet some time. See if you can change and at least have respect for yourself. Stop using your blogs for self pity. Most of the members do not even realize you have this blog, so stop painting yourself as a man of the people. Learn how to be a man first and then maybe you can help others.

Most members do not have access to the internet even though we have been paying for it with our tax money for over 20 years. The homes administration refuses to get internet wired throughout the facility. So how could they know or even access it?  This isn't for them, its about them. Even an idiot like yourself should be able to read the headlines on the main page ; to inform the public as to whats really going on at the home. 

Lynn SoellAugust 21, 2012 at 7:24 AM

Unfortunately I think this could also be called a horrible mistake. I know of a guy at the home who this past year was receiving too much of his medication....everyone kept saying he was really sleepy, couldn't visit and then after about 4 days they finally discovered it was a wrong dosage (and possibly the wrong medication). It could have killed him and like so many of the patients there (he is a Vietnam Vet who has Parkinson's due to Agent Orange and is dependent) because of his physical condition he is really at their mercy.
Question or two.... Is the staff handing out medications actually qualified to do this? What are the requirements in Michigan for nursing facilities and medications? Does anyone know this at the Vets home?

Friday, October 16, 2015

More 4th Floor Fraud at the Vets home?

Oh, I forgot to mention yesterday.. At the board of managers meeting, there was talk of soliciting funds to pay for the "continual renovations" on the 4th floor..

What a FRAUD!  we all know that the money for this floor is being re-routed for other uses.. Its an endless black hole for money.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October Board of Managers meeting

Submitted by Greg M.

A few days ago, we found the "department of military and veteran affairs, board of manager veterans home rules, on a Michigan government website OTHER than the MVAA Site.

these are the rules the administration is supposed to follow, which at first glance appears that they did not.

I found out about a "compliance" conference that I was allowed to request prior to appealing to the board of managers, that I was never told about so I went to this months meeting.

So here is what I saw at the meeting.

First, about 10 extra people showed up. This was Earnest Meyers last day. Prior to the official start, Lino Pretto was leading the pack of managers joking around, making jokes about everything and each other.

Meeting was called to order  Chairman Bob made it clear he was displeased that the MDVAA went forward with the change to the administration without first informing or involving the Board of Managers and threatened to resign if it continues. His premise was, if they were going to be doing that, why have a Board at all?  They did the same thing to Earnest Meyers with the 4th floor.

Various people spoke about various issues.
Population report about 437 residents (was 700 at one time when I was there)

No one from the GR administration was there. Jim Dunn was there.
The lady from the kitchens said the meal approval was running high among veterans and family members. I am going to call BULLS**T on this one.

The reason given by Jim Dunn for switching over to a nursing home system, is so that the home could do things that under the old system, they could not do.
They are trying to move forward based on the population at the home.

Doc Edgar talked about things, and the Electronic filing system. Said it would be a work in progress for years to come as there were lots of things to work out.. problems with the system, etc.. Lot of coding, and having to know what the codes mean took time to look things up, thus taking away doctors time from paitents.

Gary Davis came in and gave us another line of BS
Tiffany Carr came in and gave us even more.
She is on the board of managers for Freedom Cruise.

The manager of services and maintenance gave us a report too.

Talk about replacing the duckpond bridge and how estimated costs are going up. Claiming its an "historic" bridge.. bull.. yank it out and replace it.

Public comments. I mentioned that its wrong to prevent guys discharged from coming to the home to visit the guys. Especially if they were discharged for non violent things.  Bob, the chairman said he hadn't thought about my case in months. ( I have 2 open letters still unanswered by the board, sent since June 2015).  He has ignored my case. When I then mentioned the failure of the administration to give me that Compliance conference, he said he would refer it to the Attorney Generals office. This tells me I have no choice but to take them to court. 

I think its wrong, that there are guys who have physically beat up other members, destroyed homes property who are still allowed to be there, yet I got kicked out after my first incident. And now it bugs me even more to learn my due process rights were violated..

Everyone says I was targeted for removal. I think many in the Dom unit were. And that is why what used to be a population of 150 is down to 37 or so.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Withholding critical information denies proper due process to Discharged veterans at GR Vets home..

Michigans Administrative law, found in a PDF file named 46_10045_Admincode.pdf  is a critical piece of information that the Veterans home in Grand Rapids failed to inform veterans of.

State of Michigan administration code file <Click here> to download

When a veteran at the home gets kicked out they are told they can appeal to the board of managers.

HOWEVER this RULE, says they are also entitled to a compliance conference Rule 32.83

THEN under R 32.85 Rule 15, Subpart B states that within 15 days of the decision of the compliance conference, the Veteran can file an appeal with the Board of managers.

The veterans are NOT being informed of their right to a compliance conference. This is a MAJOR FLAW in their right to due (fair) process.

This may be grounds to have jurisdiction to take the home to court and have the discharges overturned.

R33.89 states that the boards ruling can be appealed to the circuit court. This too is not being told to our veterans. Another denial of due (fair) process.

I am looking into this more closely, looking up the actual Michigan laws, and the original Executive order. More on this later.

Mich Dept Vet Agency makes GRH4V Board of Manager policies available for Download.

For the first time, a person can go to the Michigan Dept of Veterans Affairs and down load the Vets home policies.
Vets home policies, click here

Click on the policy PDF file, and save it, or read it on line, your choice!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Abuse and Punishment at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Just definition of abuse, or punishment do we apply when it comes to caring for our veterans?

Punishment itself can be a form of abuse.  While everyone would agree that sometimes a person needs to face punishment for wrong doings, you must also take into account where these action are taking place: at a state ran institution that tells its residents that it is a hospital, whose name says its a "home" for "veterans". All of which is misleading.

Not only is this location a place for veterans, several family members (wives) of Veteran also are in residence here. Two of these ladies are currently living in the Dorm unit. Both are treated with high levels of respect by the younger veterans who live there.

The administration also calls this a Hospital, due to the fact that there are full time nurses at work. And other professionals that help with the healing of people, both physical and in a very very limited way, the mental aspects.

The main focus of this institution was for veterans. And veterans are different from ordinary people, due to their experiences. Military life is hard, even in peace time. And it can leave unseen scars on a person for years afterwards.  Military people tend to react differently than most folks, to common situations. This is why this place is special. Every vet is a special needs person due to their service.

We are going to focus on the Veterans. Some times these guys get out of line so to say and need to be reprimanded. They need to face punishment for what they have done.  For Jim Dunn (deputy director of MVAA) to say veterans are not punished is an out right lie and proves he is ignorant of what goes on at the Home.

For guys in the Dorm unit, proper punishment can be a written warning, or days off. Meaning they are kicked out of the home for 24 hours, 2 days, 3 days, 5 days and 7 days. As "independent living" people, capable of taking care of themselves and not needing nursing or care giving, this kind of punishment serves to remind them that it is a privilege to live at the home. And that doing so means they have to live by the rules of the home or face permanent discharge. Before permanent discharge a veteran usually gets a few chances to correct their behavior with the warnings and lesser "time out" days.

However, some do not get that luxury and are discharged on their first offense.  

Never mind the rules written in the "members hand book". The past administration never did follow those rules, and a double standard has been policy for the last 5 years.  THIS is seen by many as ABUSE of Veterans who are used to a strict chain of command and strict adherence to the established rules by everyone in that chain of command.

For the nursing units, punishment can be a number of things. Disallowing the veteran to go to the clothing room to get even more clothing (when they don't need any more), would be an acceptable punishment. We do have veterans with hording issues. A guy in Dorm unit used to horde junk mail which became a fire hazard. He was punished by permanent discharge for that and other reasons.

Some guys are in powered wheel chairs. These guys OWN these chairs. The punishment of having these chairs taken away as a punishment should be seen as ABUSE;  except in the case where the veteran has proven to the staff that due to physical and/or mental issues, the veteran lacks the skills to properly operate the power chair without becoming a danger to himself, others, or property. 

Walking into a veterans room in the middle of the night and snapping on all of the lights, thus waking up all the guys in that room, is seen by many vets, as abuse. Not respecting the privacy rights of veterans is also seen by the membership as abuse. Abuse doesn't always have to be physical.

And that abuse goes both ways. I have seen veterans get down right nasty with care givers and nurses that are trying to help them.  Case in point.  My room mate and I were interrupted one day when it was announced we would be getting a 3rd person in our 4 man room. The caregivers brought him up from another unit and this guy cussed them out calling them every name in the book he could think of because he was angry that he was being moved from that unit. His abuse of the staff was not acceptable. His other abuses eventually got him permanently discharged from the home.

Is it abuse of veterans to feed them a high carbohydrate diet when so many are suffering from Diabetes? Some would say yes.

Is it abuse of veterans, for staff members to go to a member council meeting and threaten them with disciplinary action, for the actions of another member who is not even in that unit? This happened many times at Dorm Unit member council meetings.

Is it abuse of a veteran, when that veteran is afraid to speak up, out of fear of being targeted for dismissal?

Is it abuse of Veterans, when staff members go to member council meetings, talk down to veterans then ignore what Veterans have to say in reply? This was standard policy the entire time I was at the home.

Punishment does happen at the home. So does abuse. And that abuse goes both ways.

To act as if it does not happen, is to deny reality and what goes on at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jim Dunn, Professional Liar or just Willfully Ignorant?

GR Home for Veterans CEO: 'We don't punish members' Jim Dunn is Acting CEO.

Jim Dunn. Deputy Director of Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs. A veteran, A lawyer and A professional liar. Either that or just plain willfully ignorant. And either one is inexcusable.

 Acting as temporary CEO of the health care system that is going to run both of Michigan's veterans homes, Jim has a habit of lying to people about the conditions at the Grand Rapids Home for veterans. He lies about the quality of care and now he is lying about punishment and abuse of veterans at that home. For a man that is supposed to be so intelligent, he is acting very stupid. 

While this years Federal VA audit of the home showed a number of problems, the fact is that punishment and abuse of resident veterans at the home has been normal operating policy of the home for quite some time.  This news source blog has documented a number of incidents of abuse, punishment and lack of quality care of the resident veterans over the years. Things Jim Dunn denies.

Jim Dunn's constant denial of the facts of reality for the resident veterans is the reason he needs to be removed as Deputy Director of Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. 

On the same day that WZZM 13 did an interview with Jim Dunn, I am told that a State Legislative person came to the home and did a undercover sting visit. Meaning that they came dressed in street cloths. Regular pull over shirt, blue jeans, and were able to talk to members without staff interference. However, security caught on  and figured something was up. I am told by witnesses to this event, that the State Rep person was very upset with what they saw at the home and had no idea things were that bad at the home. And has pledged to do what ever they can to improve things for the vets, and that they would be telling the rest of michigans legislature, what they saw, and what they heard from veterans on this trip. 

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in 5 years, a member of the legislature has been able to do this. Or has done so in this manner. I would home that MORE of them would do so in the future. Come dressed in street cloths and just talk to veterans without taking any notes acting as if they are just family members visiting, They will be amazed at what they see and learn. 

Witnesses also told me that when this Representative walked into the main dining hall, where they encountered Jim Dunn. And that the look on Jim Dunn's face was someone who was about to sh*t their pants. Like the kid getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so to say.  Wish I could have been there to see that. Which I could have gotten a photo of it - it would be worth a million bucks to me. 

Witnesses also told me that what the State Rep person saw and heard, contradicted what Jim Dunn told the WZZM reporter.  

FYI in the past, when ever a congress person went to the home to visit, Sara Dunne or her representatives would follow the congress person around like a puppy dog. I remind the readers that Michigan State Rep woman Winnie Brinks, whose district includes the home, was kicked off the property by Dunne herself.  Seems to me that such actions should have indicated that the home was trying to hide something - and now that something is beginning to be seen by the Legislature and others.  

People are also telling me that this new "streamlining operations" excuse by the MDVAA is just a cover up for the firing of Sara Dunn and Eric Alderman for these issues. Evidence is starting to support that idea. 



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

CEO assigned to state's Veteran Health System.

From channel 13,, used without permission.

LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) -- Leslie Shanlian has been appointed CEO of the Michigan Veteran Health System in an effort to modernize the state's veteran facilities, state leaders say.
Officials announced Shanlian's assignment Wednesday morning, which is effective Oct. 26, according to a news release. She will oversee the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans in addition to the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette.

"Her leadership during this transition will reinforce MVAA's core values of innovation, inclusion and customer service for the veterans who live in the homes and the staff who provide quality long-term care there," said Jeff Barnes, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, in a statement.

Each home's day-to-day operations will be managed by a chief operating officer while Shanlian oversees procurement, finances marketing and reporting to both the state and the federal VA.
Shanlian, a licensed nursing home administrator, previously served as the deputy director of Aging and Adult Services Agency under Gov. Rick Snyder. She, too, was the associate executive director and administrator of Henry Ford Village in Dearborn.
The positions of Grand Rapids home administrator Sara Dunne and director of operations Eric Alderman were eliminated in September. A report issued this spring found significant problems, with some "residents explained there is no accountability for the administration and several residents are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation."
A spokeswoman said the report did not dictate the leaders' departure.

Friday, October 2, 2015

VA audit of home finds abuse and lack of proper management at Vets home.

WZZM, channel 13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been following the news of the removal of 2 top jobs at the home.  Lead administrator Sara Dunne and Director of operations Eric Alderman have been relived of duty, by what the Michigan department of veterans affairs calls "streamlining operations", and that their removal is not based on their performance.

However, documents obtained by WZZM show abuse of veterans, lack of proper care, and failure to timely report incidents to the Federal VA as required by law.

One can only ask, is this "streamlining" a case of a cover up to justify the removal of these to top administrators.

The residents claim there is a long history of abuses that started at the time Sara Dunne was made temporary administrator after the departure of former top administrator Frank Sanarski.  The Dunne administration denies any such history. Yet this blog has reported many issues at the home. In recent past, the dining hall problem went public, when the home was found not to have a proper license to offer meals to visitors, and the administration was considering not to obtain the required license. Backlash from that decision along with the outright embarrassment to the administration  of the State Representative for this district Winnie Brinks offering to pay the cost of the license, forced the home to correct the problems and obtain the license.

This story will continue as the new administration takes place, and as more changes are being made to "streamline operations".

We will keep you posted here, and on our Facebook page:  Grand Rapids Home For Veterans Blog#2

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs eliminates top Administrator job a Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

James Dunn, the guy whom I have written about that doesn't have a clue as to whats happening to veterans at the Grand Rapids home for veterans is now running the show there. This is another slap in the face to veterans.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Is the Grand Rapids "Home" for(?) Veterans, a Gateway for Legalized Pillaging?

Is the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans really a home that is for the Veterans, or is it a jobs program for state unionized workers, a treasure chest for the state revenuers, and a gateway for legalized pillaging?

This one shocked me. I know the Vets home in G.R. has reduced its capabilities to house veterans from a population of about 750 down to about 500 or so.. but what happened recently makes me wonder why we even have a veterans home in Michigan anymore. Apparently it does not serve the needs of the state's veterans.
A veteran, 85% disabled with a service connected disability, was refused admission to the Grand Rapids "Home" for(?) Veterans this past week. This man collects over $5,000 a month in VA disability. He was denied admission to the Home because he was married with a family but his home is not equipped for his disability. He is in a wheelchair and his home is being remodeled to accommodate him. I helped guide the family through the HISA process which will come in and do the necessary remodel. The Home refused to take him for 2 months because they wanted him for a minimum stay of 6 months. The VA would have paid for his stay at the Home without touching his pension. I was told that the only way the Home would accept him would be if he agreed to have a Guardian and Conservator imposed on him through the Kent County Court system. The family of course,  refused to do this. Their home is now on hold for the remodel as he has no place to stay for a short period of time. I am beginning to wonder if the Home is now planning on closing its doors, as it seems it is not serving the needs of our Veterans. And they can get health care just as good, and in most cases better, at private sector health care facilities.

Why would they do this to a veteran who has already paid a dear price for his service to our country and state?

Why get Kent County Probate Court involved?  That makes no sense at all - unless you know the real reason they do this.

This blog has documented the Veterans Homes usage of the Michigan Guardian/Conservator (GC) laws, to impose these people on veterans. The GC can charge the veteran outrageous fees, and in reality controls the veteran and his/her finances. The GC then systematical strips the Veteran of all of his/her assets which somehow end up in the hands of the State, leaving the Veterans family with nothing, even when they are dependent upon the veterans income.  

We have documented this process of the Veterans home using the Guarding/Conservative laws of the State of Michigan to pillage the lives and families of Veterans and their families. Many times this results in wives of veterans being thrown out of their own home on to the street, with few or no resources or options. 
This may be, because many of their generation did not put both names on property deeds and retirement bank accounts, thinking the surviving spouse would inherit it all.   Also the GC laws gives the state the authority to force a veteran to take medication he or she may not want nor need.  

In a recent case, the home was trying to force a veteran to take medication for a family condition that he had no signs of having which made him zombie like. They also were trying to force a CG upon him. Due to an accident, the veteran had to leave the home for a period of time for medical recovery. He and his wife decided he would not return to the home. His health has improved 200 percent and is now walking with the aid of a walker for the first time in 3 years. And he still shows no sign of having the family condition.

In another case, we had a WWII vet living at the vets home while his wife was living at their home raising a grandchild. The homes furnace went out and had to be replaced. We are told that somehow the veteran got help to get the furnace replaced (at a cost of about 7 thousand dollars), but it was conditional that the Veteran sign over the deed to his house which was valued at over 80 thousand dollars. The veteran did so, reluctantly.

The house was sold and the proceeds went somewhere other than to the veterans surviving family.  Where the proceeds to the sale of this veterans home, went, is any bodies guess. Did it go into the pockets of one of the Veterans Homes employees? Did it go into the state coffers? 

We have watched and documented the home (aka the State of Michigan) using this method to strip veterans of their wealth with NO accountability of the State. This is just plain wrong and in my humble opinion, nothing less than organized criminal acts. 

I believe the state and/or its representatives are doing this intentionally to supplement the states low revenue intake.  I also believe what they are doing is committing serious felonies. They may be following law and proper procedure, and what they are doing is may be allowed by law, but morally what they are doing is destroying the very people they are supposed to be serving and helping. And that makes it just plain wrong.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Board of Managers creates another conflict of Interest - Ombudsman?

Getting reports that the board of managers has once again created a conflict of interest with one of its members.

Like him or not, Lino Pretto apparently has been voted to be an Ombudsman for Rankin 2 and 3, the Dorm Unit.  How can Pretto, represent the needs of the veterans, while at the same time hes representing the Governor as a member of the board?

For years the veterans at the home have been asking for an independent ombudsman to represent them. Someone who is NOT already representing the government or its administration.

While some of the people on the Dom may talk to Pretto, most have told me they would not as they cannot trust that what they say will remain private and held in confidence.

Many still fear being targeted for discharge, if they speak up and voice their concerns or opinions. Doing this to a member of the board, is just not an option to them.

Pretto may be a better liaison person, acting as a go between, between the Vets and the board, but there is no way he can function as an independent Ombudsman with the veterans needs being his first priority.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jim Dunn, Deputy Director Michigan Vets Agency, opens mouth and inserts foot.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The explosiveness of the main event at an MMA show Saturday night proved to be enough to overshadow a logistical issue that put the entire evening in jeopardy.

Jose' Johnson and Herman Evelhoch fought for three rounds and put the outcome in the hands of the judges as the thirteenth bout at the Veteran's Valor mixed martial arts event at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Saturday.

 A couple issues regarding the state agency that oversees the veteran's home were enough to throw the whole evening into question.

After four months of planning veteran's home director of community and member relations Tiffany Carr was informed Friday afternoon the event would have to be canceled due to improper paperwork and a ticket selling issue. (HUH?!!)

The event, promoted by Michigan Elite Fight League, was held to raise money for the veteran's home, Carr said. Tickets were sold online with the promise that all proceeds past the cost of the event would be donated back to the home.

Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency deputy director of service administration Jim Dunn said that was too large a hurdle to jump.

"I learned about it for the first time (Friday) morning," Dunn said. "There were no written agreements that would have covered all the insurance, liability and permission to use the property."

Dunn said the state could not receive money from tickets sold to the fights and said he would have liked to have seen proper requests filed with the agency.   (Ed note: what u gonna do, send the money back?)

The paperwork he's referencing doesn't exist, Carr said.

"We have no contract or liability form for our volunteers or individuals who come to perform entertainment, family carnivals or anything like that," Carr said. "Honestly we've never really had any concerns or issues at least in my 15 years. We're an open campus. We have weddings that happen down in Grotto Park, we have senior pictures and engagement pictures." (open campus to all except those kicked out of the home).

All take place without a written agreement, she said.

"Up until Friday at 1 p.m. we had no issues or concerns about this event being here," Carr said. "We knew (the MMA promotion) had to have their own insurance and they do.

 "People raise money for us in all variety of ways. Just because it was a ticket online sale didn't make me feel any different than it would with people buying a Snickers bar or going to a car wash. People in turn are paying for something to give back to the veterans."

Ed Note: Jim Dunn you are an IDIOT.. Since when do YOU run the veterans home? I keep hearing thats the job of the Board of Managers.

Since when is it any of your concerns how people raise money to help the Vets? You sure ain't doing anything like that. You are too busy misrepresenting stuff to Rick Snyder, your buddy.

Maybe you should mind your own business and let the people who know how, raise their funds. And let the Vets enjoy the donations.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Veterans going hungry each month in michgan.

Average cost of care at MI vets home in Grand Rapids Dom unit: 2100 a month. Limited to about 50 people, but has room for over 100, with double occupancy, in what used to be 4 man rooms.
Average disability check, (va, ss, whatever) 1200 a month.
Average cost of living in Michigan - 2000 a month.

Yet despite this, many vets who leave the home end up doing better. Yet they still face other hardships. 

It has come to the attention of many disabled veterans who are on a limited budget, that there just isn't enough help of the right KIND, for veterans in Michigan.

While there is help available to some veterans who have served in declared wars or zones, such as Nam, Grenada, Desert shield and Storm, others who served in other areas prior to or after, do not get the same benefits. Many Cold war veterans for example, served under hostile fire conditions but do not get credit for doing so, as we were not in any "declared" wars at the time.

Since 1973 we have had an ALL volunteer military. Yet our vets are still treated differently depending on where they served, and whether or not that service gets special recognition.

Veterans who become disabled later in life who are not service connected, or those who are, but whose VA pensions are less than or about 1200 a month find themselves in a very precarious financial situation.

Even with Section 8 HUD housing (public housing assistance), most of these veterans struggle each month with day to day living expenses. The 1200 a month is just enough to pay the basic bills, Home, Electricity, gas, trash, Phone, and maybe car insurance and gas, and cable TV or Cable internet. Then there is the food budget, and clothing and laundry that comes out of the rest of it.

Many of these veterans are finding they can get Food Stamps, but on average only get about 15 a month. Hardly worth the effort to get it, but every bit helps.

Extra expenses, like new clothing to replace the worn out stuff, car repairs, and such all come out of the food budget which for most is 100 a week or less.  In many cases, even without these additional expenditures, the veteran has to go to the local food banks for supplementary food to get them through the month.

Now some of the veterans can go and get help from outside agencies.. but most of them require the vet to be in one of those declared war zones, and have that info on their DD214.

Many who served time in the Persian Gulf, were pre-war and don't get any credit for it. For example those who spent months in the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war, do not get credit for being less than 5 miles from the war zone, while the military kept an eye on the 2 countries. Vets who were in the gulf when Sadam Husein of Iraq used the biological weapons on the Kurds in the north, do not get any credit for being in the region ready to fight if called to do so.

Another example is those who served picket duty off the coast of Lebanon after the Marines barracks got bombed.  No credit for that, even though some of them got shot at.

For all practical purposes, No one is here to help these veterans who need financial help to get over a financial hump, what ever it may be. Car repair, Moving expenses (down payment, truck rental to move their furniture, etc). And when help is available, its due to a program that gets funding for a specific time, then that pool of resources drys up and again, no help is available. There may be one or two civilian ran groups in the area that offer help but its usually limited in the amount they can help, which usually is not enough.

Living on 1200 a month means you SURVIVE. No extra money for anything else. Some say the phone and Cable TV/Internet are luxuries. I say the phone is a must have, and internet access is also a must have in todays world.

Flashback Jan 2012, Mi Vets home eliminates state employed caregivers, moves for privatization, claims it won't harm the residents - Turns out they were wrong.

From Jan 20th, 2012.. Turns out the predictions have come to be reality for too many at the Home.

GRAND RAPIDS — Members of the board charged with oversight of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans conceded Thursday they were kept in the dark about lay offs and plans to close the facility's 4th floor while eliminating 90 skilled nursing beds.

“We need to know this stuff before we come to a board meeting,” said Ernest Meyers Sr., a member of the Board of Managers, which supervises both the Grand Rapids facility and the Dominic J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette.

The board met at the Grand Rapids facility just as news broke about plans to lay 10 off to 15 employees next month and exact severe cuts in the number of nursing beds.

Board Chairman F. Gerrit Veldman said he only learned of the cuts as he sat down to breakfast Thursday, calling it a “bit of a shock.”

Added board member Gerald Cool: “I didn’t know nothing about it.”

Veterans advocate Michael Willard, 75, a long-time volunteer at the home, called the lack of oversight inexcusable.

“It’s bad news. This board should know everything that is going on.”

Willard suggested the board has been overrun by political decisions being made outside its purview.
“They are not running this home. The higher-ups are telling them what to do.”

James Dunn, chief of staff for the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs, conceded he could have done a better job keeping board members informed.

“I apologize if I didn’t give you the exact situation,” Dunn said.

Dunn said the state has little choice but to trim expenses, because of a $4.2 million cut in state funds to the home and stalled plans to replace 170 union nurses aides with non-union contract workers.
The plans were halted at the 11th hour on Sept. 30 when Ingham County Judge Paula J.M. Manderfield issued a restraining order blocking the workers’ layoff. The judge said the plan would result in harm to the veterans in the home.

The judge’s action came after home resident Anthony Spallone sued on behalf of himself and other veterans, claiming residents would “experience irreparable harm” if the workers were laid off and contract workers replaced them.  - And it turns out Anthony was correct, but privatization was allowed to go forward.

According to state filings in the case, the hiring of non-union aides would save the home an estimated $18,000 a day.

The board approved generalized plans in December to reduce the overall population in the home, which has approximately 460 skilled nursing beds and 83 beds for those who are independent.

Gov. Rick Snyder signaled intentions to privatize the positions in the 2012 budget for the home, at an estimated savings of up to $5.8 million a year. State funds to the home were cut by $4.2 million in anticipation of that move.

State-paid aides earn $15 to $20 an hour based on seniority to help feed, clothe and otherwise help residents. They also receive overtime as well as state pensions and health insurance.

The home pays $15 an hour for contract aides, although those workers actually receive less because the employment agency they work through takes part of that amount, according to union workers.
J2S company who won the contract, pays its workers up to 12 an hour. Most make 10 or less.

Approximately 100 aides at the home were on contract prior to the privatization plan.
Veterans advocates have been harshly critical of the drive to privatize the home, as well as the abrupt move to close down an entire floor. Members are being relocated to other floors of the home.

“These men fought, died, lost limbs,” said John Olinger, 55, of Belmont, a frequent volunteer at the home.

“We shouldn’t be closing down floors.

“I’m really ashamed when I read about letting all these people go.”

Bob Bianchi, another long-time backer of the home, maintained privatization comes at the expense of the residents.

“I don’t believe in privatization,” he told the board.

“I never did. Republicans believe in that, to cut the cost. You pay for what you get. And to privatize this home, for these veterans it’s wrong. They deserve the best that money can buy and they are not getting it.”

Veteran Fred Sinclair, 74, a resident at the home for the past year, doesn’t like the switch to contract caregivers. Long-time union workers become familiar with the particular needs of each resident, he said.

“They learn who you are. They know what we need and what we don’t need.”

As for the contract workers, he said, “It’s a different one every day. They don’t know if they can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Sinclair said he was embarrassed when a contract caregiver he had never seen before walked in on him when he was naked.

Sinclair said residents were deceived about the decision to close the fourth floor, maintaining they were told it was a temporary move.   In other words, they were lied to again by this administration.

“It’s like politicians, you know they are lying when their lips are moving,” he said of administration at the home.

Frank Snarski, who was commandant of the home for about 10 years until his retirement in 2010, is dismayed by developments. He contended that the state is mistaken that contracted care is just as good as that afforded by union workers, many of whom have worked there more than 10 years.
“I would never support any of this. I don’t support privatization at all. You get what you pay for.”

From the comments section: 

July 2015.. Everything here predicted has come true. J2S the private contractor has been a dismal experiment. Quality health care has gone down the drain. James Dunn of MVAA should be ashamed of himself. Gov Rick Snyder shouldn't even show his face to these guys..

The home has become like a prison to many. The board of managers recommendations and decisions are constantly being over ruled or ignored by Dunn and Snyder.

Frank Snarski was right.. they got what (little) they paid for, with the privatized J2S workers.

This place doesn't even have proper Internet for the residents, or public (including state officials) who visit the place.

The home under Snyder has become a Disgrace to Veterans.


This is not about the caregivers. Does someone pay Mr. Darling to post idiotic, inaccurate statements? This is about laying off skilled,college degree workers. The employees being layer off now are social workers, recreational therapists, a registered nurse, and others. Their last day is next Friday, 2/3/12. They are laying off workers that provide crucial therapy for mental health issues, post traumatic stress disorder, loss of independence, potential substance abuse issues, incentive therapy, coping skills, medical intervention and education, diabetic education and so much more. Many of these skilled degreed workers are being payed less than the private sector. The veterans are devastated by the loss of these employees. The fourth floor patients are being forced to move to units with different staff. This has been extremely chaotic and stressful for the veterans, their families and staff. This is about the veterans. NOT the misconception of the caregiver wages that are being dwelled on incorrectly. This is about the veterans and quality of care. The facility is about to lose Amazing skilled staff that the Veterans have significantly benefited from their services. The veterans and their families deserve better.

And the complaints about the J2S workers are endless. Workers that don't knock before entering a room where some guys may be naked while changing cloths. Workers showing disrespect for the veterans. Workers with poor attitudes. And of course, the turn over rate being so high for J2S, and under staffing happening more often than not.

Recently 2 guys told me about 3,  J2S workers laughing about how many times they had been fired then rehired by J2S because its so desperate for workers.  The guys who told me about this said the girls were fresh out of school with little if any work experience.  This would not surprise me at all.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

GRH4V Board of Managers, Setting the example of double standard at the home?

I've taken 6 contacts about this in the last month. I cannot confirm it at this time. I need confirmation if any one can, please drop us a comment. All comments are private until I screen them and decide to post them. All comments get posted unless they are spam, or contain foul words, or the writer asks me not to.

I am being told that the Board of Mangers has a set of rules that they are supposed to go by, that governs them.  One of these rules is about a manager whose time on the board has expired, but for whom a replacement has not yet been assigned. Under this rule, the existing outgoing manager is to stay active on the board until his or her replacement is picked and is read to assume the duties of a manager.

I am told one such outgoing manager has tried to follow this rule, but is being blocked from attending and voting on issues by the other board members.

Apparently, there is a lot of chit chat and voting on issues going on, outside the monthly meetings that no one else knows about.

In other words, the actions of this Board of Managers is not transparent, and they need oversight.

IF it is true that the other members of the board are preventing the outgoing manager from doing his or her job, until their replacement is appointed, then this board is doing the same thing that the administration of the home does - selective application of the rules, instead of all rules applying equally to all members.

No wonder the residents feel like its a prison.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Slander or Proof of Incompetency?

Slander or Proof of Incompetency?  You be the judge.

Veterans home board of managers meeting minutes made public, for the month of April 2015,  and I quote:

" Previous member with questionable history would like to come back to visit friends at the Home. Need board recommendation.
"Motion to continue to restricted visitation for this member at the home by manager Okerstrom, supported by manager Meyers. A letter of the board will be sent to him. "

While the former Resident (member) of the home is not named most of us know who it is.

His history at the home is well documented and there should be NO question of it.

Is this proof of the board of managers stupidity, or incompetenance, or is it their attempt to slander the mans reputation?

Or is it their response to this Blog?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

History of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

A bit outdated, but still very informative, is a history of the Home in Grand Rapids. A paper written for the state congress back in 1997, contains a lot of usefull information about the history of the home. Part of that is being reprinted here. After reading it, one understands that many changes have taken place since the beginning of the Michigan home for veterans, and the last few years have been responsible for writing some of the darkest pages of the homes history

For many Michiganians, the fact that the State operates two nursing homes for veterans is a well kept secret. One wouldn't necessarily notice the two homes, as the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is tucked away in a park-like environment on the Grand River in the north of Grand Rapids, and the D. J. Jacobetti Home is situated on the shore of Lake Superior in the City of Marquette. Still others, in an era of government downsizing, might wonder why the State is in the business of running a nursing home. The answer to that question dates back to the Civil War, when during the war's aftermath the State chose to honor a debt to wartime veterans who were in need by establishing a State home for veterans in Grand Rapids. Nearly a hundred years later, a second home in Marquette was established by the State.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a description of the origin and history of the commitment by the State to wartime veterans in need of nursing care, the role of the Federal government in providing care assistance, and the State Homes' objectives, services, facilities, admissions, population, and funding. This report will concentrate primarily on the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, as it is the State's first and largest veterans home, nearly triple the size of the D. J. Jacobetti Home. It should be noted that the goals and services of each Home are the same, and differ only in size and in certain methods of service delivery that are the result of the economy of scale enjoyed by the Grand Rapids Home. Both offer domiciliary, skilled, and special needs care and a wide variety of social and therapeutic activities. The Grand Rapids Home primarily attracts veterans across the Lower Peninsula as members, while the D. J. Jacobetti Home draws 90% of its membership from veterans from the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan's Grand Rapids Home for Veterans had its beginnings in the years following the Civil War as a reaction to the devastating impact that conflict had on the State's population. On a national level, it is estimated that 400,000 to 500,000 soldiers were disabled from that war, from either wounds or disease. In the 20 years following the war, veterans groups voiced concern about the numbers of soldiers in ill health or poverty-stricken. The Federal government responded by establishing a national soldiers home in Washington, D.C., which was funded by a 12.5-cent monthly deduction from the pay of all enlisted U.S. military personnel. Other national homes were created during this period in Maine, Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The objectives of these homes were to provide housing and medical and nursing care to indigent ex-soldiers and to help them lead orderly lives.
The homes that were developed, called National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, were quickly filled and a rising population of middle-aged veterans who applied for entry in these homes outstripped capacities. In the State of Michigan, which provided 93,000 troops to the Union Army during the Civil War, the public became concerned over the increasing numbers of State veterans who were poverty-stricken and living in poorhouses. In 1884, the Michigan Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Union Army veterans organization, began a lobbying effort to locate a national soldiers home in the State. Bills in both houses of Congress were introduced to provide authorization for the building of a branch of the National Home in Michigan. This effort was ultimately unsuccessful, due in part to an argument that a Michigan National Home location would be an inefficient siting due to the State's proximity to existing National branches at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Dayton, Ohio.
Undaunted by their lack of success at the Federal level, the GAR and other supporters of a Michigan Home turned to the Michigan Legislature for support in 1885. Responding to the fact that 460 veterans had been in poorhouses the previous winter and a hundred others were taken care of at GAR posts, the Michigan Legislature passed legislation creating a Michigan Soldiers Home. On June 5, 1885, Governor Russell A. Alger signed into law Public Act 152 of 1885 which established a home for disabled soldiers, sailors and marines in the State and created a six-member board of managers.

Within months of the bill's enactment, a Board of Managers was appointed and a site was selected for the Home, a 132-acre farm property along the Grand River in Grand Rapids. A building contract for the construction of the Home was awarded to the winning bidder of $99,667.57, and ground was broken in March 1886. The completed original building opened its doors on January 1, 1887. It was a three-story brick structure designed to house 450 veterans with a total floor space of 24,000 feet.
It wasn't long before additional facilities were deemed necessary for the Home. In 1889, a 94-person capacity dormitory, a morgue, and a root house were added. Other improvements, including an electric light system and a flush toilet system were added during this time period. A posthumous fund, funded by money received from the estate of a veteran who died at the Home without heirs, was used to fund a cemetery, monument, and a fountain in front of the building. By 1890, the average daily population of the Home was 564 and the annual State appropriation for the Home was $82,500. The average cost per capita at the Home was $161.25, of which $100 was paid for by the Federal government.
In 1893, the Michigan Legislature acted to provide for the admission of wives, widows, and mothers of veterans. An appropriation of $15,000 was established to construct a women's dormitory at the Home. A 30-room dormitory for women was dedicated and opened on January 3, 1894. Under the rules of admission, a woman was required to demonstrate that she was unable to earn a living, had no support from relatives, and was of good moral character.
As the 1900s approached, the Grand Rapids Home witnessed increased admissions and subsequent expansion of facilities and higher operating budgets. Annual State appropriations had passed the $100,000 mark and rose to $134,000 in 1904, when the Home had 1,035 admissions, double its initial admissions. Operational costs for the Home rose, in part due to the rising average age of members. For years many able members were used for work details around the facility, but with more and more members unable to perform on work details due to medical problems, a rise in the need for civilian employees resulted, with a corresponding need for employee housing. The appropriated amount for 1906 included $190,000 for special projects, bringing the total State appropriation for that year to $360,500. The appropriation amount for the Grand Rapids Home was the highest appropriation to any State institution with the exception of the two State universities. One item on the list of special projects was $75,000 for a new hospital. The facility was completed in 1909, providing 250 beds for men and 50 for women. The old hospital building built in 1889 was converted to a dormitory.
The use of members' military pension funds by the Home became an issue in the early 1900s. In 1907, Congress passed a military pension bill that for the first time applied to all veterans who met age and length of service requirements, not just those who were physically disabled, as had been the case prior to this bill. In 1912, $30 per month was established as the top pension rate. The Grand Rapids Home had a rule that allowed members to keep $5 a month from their pensions and required the rest to be turned over to the Home. Under the rules, a veteran who received more than $12 per month would not be eligible for admission to the Home except by the recommendation of the Commandant. Those veterans with a pension exceeding $12 per month who were admitted would have to turn over all but the $12 to the Home. Negative public and political reaction to the use of pension funds by the Home resulted in attempts to prohibit the Home from using pensions or charging anyone for care. The dispute culminated in 1920 with the implementation of a new State law that allowed the Home's Board of Managers to levy a charge of $20 a month on those members who had monthly incomes of $50 or more. At the same time, the Federal government raised its annual allotment from $100 to $120 per capita per year, or half the cost of an individual's care, whichever amount was smaller.
The 1920s saw a declining average membership at the Home which would continue until the end of World War II. This occurred despite the economic hardships of the depression and the aging of World War I veterans. The decline in population at the Home can be traced in large part to the establishment of the Federal Veterans Administration (VA) in 1930. The creation of the administration combined various programs for veterans and provided more assistance to veterans as well as funding for additional VA hospitals and additional services for the veterans at these facilities. These changes made it easier and more attractive for a veteran to partake of Federal benefits. This gave the veteran more options than simply going into retirement at a State Veterans Home.
The depression of the 1930s had its impact on the Grand Rapids Home. Few capital improvements were made and staff had to be reduced. The Home reinstated its work detail program to help minimize the effect of cuts in personnel. It was during this time that members of the Home began the manufacturing of paper poppies that were sold by American Legion members to generate funds for veterans programs. Further hampering funding for the Home was that the Federal government, despite numerous increases in veterans benefits, had failed for many years to increase the stipend to State Veterans Homes. In 1937, the payment to the Home was only $120 per veteran per year. In 1939, Congress did act to increase the stipend to $365.
During World War II, Home membership was at its lowest level in history, 223, one-third of whom were women. In addition, the last Civil War veteran who still resided at the Home, Martin J. Warner, died in March 1945. By the end of World War II, the population would rise considerably. The average age of a World War I veteran was now nearing 60. Most Spanish-American War veterans were disabled because of age. The Home's population increased to 500 in 1946 and to 1,000 in 1949; 75% of whom were World War I veterans. Another reason for the population increase was the existence of long waiting lists at Veterans Administration hospitals in the aftermath of World War II for disabled Michigan veterans.
Despite the increase in Federal support to $500 per veteran per year, the Home tried to cut back its costs as best it could to deal with the rising number of admissions. The facility at various times had stopped admitting women to keep the Home's population at a manageable level. Throughout the 1950s, the population would be maintained at an average of close to 1,000 members.
In anticipation of future expansion of member population due to World War II, a postwar building boom for the Home took place. Two domiciliary units were constructed; one was completed in 1946 at a cost of $460,000 (the R.V. Gay Building), and the other in 1948 for $715,000 (the J. Gordon Rankin Building). A new power plant was completed in 1956 at a cost of approximately $1.0 million.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a question as to the Home's focus arose. Throughout its history, the Grand Rapids Home's prime purpose was to provide domiciliary care to veterans. An emphasis began to be placed on the Home's hospital operations. Many improvements to the hospital's facilities and increases in services were made. In 1953, the hospital became fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. The Board of Managers at the time had expressed interest in the possibility of constructing a new 500-bed hospital, but it would never come to pass.
For the year 1956, there were 980 male veteran members at the Home, consisting of one veteran from the Mexican War, 49 veterans from the Spanish-American War, 797 from World War I, and 133 from World War II. There were 53 women at the Home, consisting of seven Civil War widows, one Indian Wars widow, 19 Spanish American War widows, wives, nurses, and five World War II mothers. The budget for that year was $1.2 million, which included $1.1 million for operating expenses including $700,000 for 183 Civil Service employees and two unclassified employees. The revenue source for the Home's budget consisted of approximately $450,000 in General Fund money, $375,000 from the Federal government in per diem payments, $180,000 from an assessment against members' government pensions of no less than 25% and no more than 60% plus the retention of 50% of all other income up to but not exceeding the per diem individual maintenance cost (which was $3.15 at the time), and $117,000 in grant funds from the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund.
As the 1960s approached, supporters of the Home began to examine the changing needs of veterans who would be entering the Home. It was determined that the State faced a shortage of housing appropriate for those who required nursing or medical care. A report in 1956 pointed out that while Michigan ranked seventh in the number of persons it sent to the armed forces for World War II, it ranked only 42nd in available health care facilities for veterans. In addition, a national survey competed by the VA confirmed a trend that had been witnessed in Michigan: that there was a shift away from domiciliary needs and an increase in need for nursing care for long-term illnesses and disabilities. With increased societal benefits for retired veterans, more aging veterans were able to maintain themselves independently without having to seek domiciliary care at a veterans home. At the same time, an increasing percentage of those who applied for admission to veterans homes required a wide range of nursing care that was not available in accommodations designed for domiciliary care.
The Grand Rapids facility responded to this need for increased nursing care by remodeling the Rankin Building into a 217-bed facility for long-term care of those who suffered from chronic disease or disability. The new unit was opened in 1963. By the mid 1960s, a decision had to be made about the Home's hospital. Studies had shown that the hospital was outmoded and would require extensive renovation or replacement to bring it into compliance with the minimum standards of a modern hospital. Faced with the potential cost of building and maintaining a sophisticated hospital, it became apparent that the needs of the Grand Rapids Home could not justify the cost of running a full-service hospital. This decision allowed the Home to devote its resources to nursing and domiciliary care. Doctors were already coming in from outside the Home to treat its members, and increasingly, members were being sent to community hospitals for treatment as well.
In 1970, the Grand Rapids Veterans Facility was placed under the responsibility of the State Department of Public Health. The Department was responsible for setting standards of care for nursing facilities. The Department defined three primary levels of nursing care: domiciliary (supervised residential care), basic (care of patients who require medication and minimal assistance), and skilled (care of those who need more assistance and constant nursing). As acute care services declined with the phase-out of hospital operations, the facility reduced the number of staff physicians from five to three, a number that the Department had judged appropriate for what was to become exclusively a nursing care institution. The Home then added nursing personnel to meet the Department's minimum standards. The Home increased therapeutic services by expanding existing occupational and physical therapy services and adding speech, hearing, psychiatric, and inhalation therapy services. A social worker was hired to the staff and an education program was set up with the Grand Rapids Board of Education. In addition, a new alcoholism treatment program was added.
With the Home's focus now clearly turned to nursing care, the facility sought to embark upon a building program to remove outdated buildings and construct new ones that would meet modern standards of nursing care. In a fortunate development, the Federal government in the 1960s had developed a funding program that would provide matching funds to those states that would upgrade their state veterans home. The State took advantage of this program and a budget of $8.2 million was included in 1972 for the purposes of tearing down the old main building, the hospital and the old nurses' dormitory, as well as constructing a new nursing care building and renovating the existing Rankin and Gay Buildings. The project was completed in 1975, and the result was that 343 beds for skilled care nursing were provided for in the new structure (named the McLeish Building). In the Rankin Building 194 basic care beds were established, and 230 domiciliary beds were available in the Gay Building. The McLeish Building, connected by a walkway to the other buildings, also would house administrative offices and other services. A new chapel also was constructed from donated funds.
In 1977, the Michigan Legislature acted to specify further the nature of the membership of the Home's supervisory body, the Board of Managers, and bring it to its current configuration. Until Public Act 48 of 1977, the Board of Managers was to be made up of seven members appointed by the Governor, of whom only one was required to be a veteran (of the Spanish-American War). The new Act required that two board members be representatives of the American Legion, two from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), one from Disabled American Veterans, one from American Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam (AMVETS), and one war-time veteran who was not a representative of the aforementioned veterans organizations.
As the Home entered the 1980s, yearly population averages ranged over 700 members. The largest group of veterans, those from World War II, made up 70% of the Home's membership. Vietnam war veterans began to appear at the facility but only in small numbers which equaled about 3% of the total. As defined by type of care received, the facility was providing domiciliary care to 20% of its membership and basic nursing care to 40%, as well as skilled nursing care to another 40%.
The early 1980s brought about the creation of an Upper Peninsula annex to the Grand Rapids Home. The Board of Managers had embarked on a feasibility study in 1976 for an Upper Peninsula facility and ultimately chose the City of Marquette as the site for such a facility. The facility was opened in 1981 utilizing the facilities of the former St. Mary's Hospital and was named for an Upper Peninsula State Representative who was involved in the efforts to establish the facility, D. J. Jacobetti. The hilltop location of the facility provides a view of Lake Superior. By the mid-1980s, the new Home's membership totals would reach 100; later, its population would rise to over 200 members.
The increasing demand for nursing care at the Grand Rapids Home continued: In 1979 only a handful of veterans were on a waiting list for nursing care; by the mid-1980s the list would grow to 80 or more. To provide for this need, and to accommodate a growing number of patients suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, more space suitable for caring for these cases had to be found. The Mann Building, constructed in 1946 as a domiciliary unit, was considered as an option for this purpose. However, since the building would have to be completely gutted and rebuilt in order to meet nursing care standards, the State decided that replacing the entire building was more feasible. Therefore, a new $14 million-plus Mann Building was completed in 1987 at the Grand Rapids Facility. The building, with 120,000 square feet, provides 40,000 more square feet than the building it replaced. Though the increased space did not add to the overall capacity of the Home, every bed in the Mann Building now meets nursing care standards, and units are now present to care specifically for Alzheimer patients. In 1986, the D. J. Jacobetti Home opened one of Michigan's first nursing units established for veterans suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. In 1992, the Jacobetti Home opened a new 50-bed wing.
The early 1990s signaled changes in the State administrative control over the State's veterans homes. Executive Orders 1991-7 and 1992-1 transferred both Michigan Veterans Homes from the Department of Public Health to the Michigan Department of Military Affairs (DMA). This action placed the Homes under the responsibility of the DMA's Division of Veterans Affairs, which now includes the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, the Veterans Tuition Program, and other veterans services. For 1997, the Grand Rapids Veterans Home has a total care capacity of 757, making it the largest nursing care facility in the State, and a total budget of $32.8 million, while the D. J. Jacobetti Veterans Home in Marquette has a total membership capacity of 241, and an annual budget of $11.2 million.

Full article found at The history of the Michigan Veterans Homes.      


Friday, July 3, 2015

Vets home policy that bans veterans from visiting friends and from being on property, is a disgrace.

Both administration and board of managers are a disgrace to veterans. More so to those veterans who are banned from being able to go on the property to visit friends, because they were once members who got kicked out of the home for what ever reason.

I can understand the bans on the veterans who committed violent acts against the staff or any other person. But when these vets did not lay a finger on anyone and were blowing off steam or for other non violent issues are banned from the property and prevented from visiting friends, the administration again insults and disgraces veterans.

The administration may also be violating their rights.

Rob S, Bill Y, Greg M, Herman J,  Mike W,  Steve C, Don W, Richard M, are just a few who have been banned from the property for life, for non violent offenses.

There is the Case of Richard M, who was in the Dorm unit, (people who medicate themselves). He came back from the VA in Ann Arbor with medicines for his condition. The home demanded he turn them over to them and wanted to replace them with some thing else. His refusal to turn them over got him discharged and banned. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

Don Kramer, a well liked DAV volunteer is also banned for life because of one of the staff claiming harassment, when she was the one caught violating the homes rules.

The administration could argue that Greg M threatened violence, but so do many who are still there - he just did it in writing, not at screaming at the top of his lungs 12 inches from their faces. And he never laid a finger on anyone in anger during his 2 year stay at the home. Hes been fighting to get his rights to go visit friends at the home for over 3 years now. The home lets him on property on the days the national charity group Guitars for Veterans, when it meets at the home and teaches vets how to play guitar.

Herman J, was kicked out for refusing to take showers due to a mental condition and the homes violation of not having proper counseling available got him kicked out. Hes never harmed anyone.

Rob S, and Bill Y, both were total drunks and got kicked out for that, yet they never hurt anyone either.  Rob was not kicked out when he brought a 5th of vodka into Greg M's and Wayne B's room to give Gary, a 3rd roommate that just got transfered up from Rankin 1. Rob S should have been kicked out that day as the rules stated, but when has this administration ever followed its own rules?  Then later he got kicked out, was allowed to return to the home and I am told just recently got kicked out permanently again.

And all are banned from the property. They cannot visit friends during regular visiting hours without fear of being arrested for trespassing.

The only exemption to this is Greg M. He is allowed to attend the Guitars for Veterans class on Wednesday nights. We are guessing that its because its a national charity that uses the home for its meeting place, as Guitars 4 Veterans Grand Rapids Chapter was started there by a non veteran guy called Mark R.

This has been going on for years. Greg M has been seeking to obtain his right to come and visit the guys there for over 2 years.  Not sure about the others. Many of them just walk away and write it off as a bad experience. I know I did, when I left - I got tired of being discriminated against - and I left of my own free will from a place that is supposed to be for us veterans.

The guys left at the home feel isolate because no one comes to visit them. These guys who were once part of the Dom unit, try to and cannot.  This is not right.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fleecing the Veterans, 2 bucks for each 20 ounce coke.

At a location that is supposed to be serving veterans, once again Michigan is fleecing the veterans.

Here is proof:

2 liter Coke at walmart, 1.54  thats 67 ounces or over 3 20 ounce bottles.

At the homes price of 6 dollars for 3, 20 ounce bottles of coke, I could get just under 4 2 liters. 4 2 liters would be 6.20 which includes the 10 cent deposit. That means I could get 12 20 ounce refills for the price of paying for just 3, 20 ounce bottles of coke from the members coke machines in cozy corners.

2 dollars for a 20 ounce coke, 1.50 for a can, and 1.75 for a can of V8.  OUTRAGEOUS!

Guys in Dom unit who cannot cover their full cost of care, get 5 dollars a week for personal expenses.
Many guys in nursing unit only get the same amount.

Now a picture is worth 1000 words..
You decide, are these veterans getting fleeced?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dining hall problems at Vets home covered on local news.

Grand Rapids Home for veterans no longer allowing family to eat a facility 
  Click on link above for full story.

Where is the 2 Million dollars awarded for in-house psychological services ?

We have written here in previous posts, that there is little if any counseling for veterans at the Veterans home. Although required by the VA, the home did not have any qualified people employed there for a number of years.  Both nursing unit residents that needed help and Dorm unit people with various problems who needed help could not get it.

Recently an almost two million dollar contract was awarded to address this issue. Yet residents are not seeing it. Some are getting all kinds of Psychiatric drugs  but no one is getting any counseling, no one is seeing any mental health doctor appointments.

What happened to the 2 million dollars that was supposed to pay for it? How is that money being spent?  Vets are not seeing it.  The homes Board Of Managers claimed the Federal V.A. said the residents can go to the Wyoming Clinic which would require residents to travel to the new clinic. If doing so is an acceptable solution, why award a 2 million dollar contract for in house services? It is too hard for some of these veterans to travel to the Clinic. 

The need for in-house psychological services was established, the contract was signed. Why are these services not coming into the Home, or being done via telecast? 

The way the home currently accounts for monies being spent, I would not be surprised to find out they used the 2 million for something else.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans War on Free Speech.

Well they did it. It has been a successful campaign. The Home silences voices for Veterans, (unless it is one of them) and obstructs free speech.

Historical evidence clearly shows an intentional attempt by the administration of the Michigan Veterans home at Grand Rapids, is involved in squashing free speech by its residents or any other out side influence from speaking up for the veterans within.

From targeting residents for discharge (removal) to targeting visitors. Anyone who has anything negative to say about the home or its administration, even if it is for the purpose of bringing attention to problems that need resolution (positive criticism) , the administration is actively attempting to silence that voice.

From Sara Dunne's claim that its HER job to talk to Congressional representatives, instead of letting veterans do so, to Jim Dunn of the Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs Agency, who said its his job to represent the veterans to the congress, the history is clear.

The fact that this home ordered a state congresswoman  (Winnie Brinks) whose district includes the home, OFF of the homes property should not surprise anyone.

The local media is in lock down about the home and refuses or fails to do any kind of story on the home or what is going on within the home, without the administrations approval. And any stories short of murder are quashed unless they reflect the home in a positive way.  Outside voices for the veterans and resident veterans themselves have gone to local media (WOOD TV8  and WZZM 13) with stories only to see them silenced. A video interview with one resident (at his request), who later died at the VA hospital in Battle Creek, was hand delivered to WZZM and it too got silenced.

What once used to be a real HOME for veterans has become a glorified prison for many of the remaining residents. Members as they are called, even though the home is classified as a "hospital" and ran quasi like one. It has become a place for veterans to die, more than an actual home where people do things like live and enjoy life.  Residents are afraid to speak up for fear of being targets for expulsion from the home. And for many of them, it is the only place they have other than the streets.

Residents have witnessed what they believe is the homes targeting residents who "speak up" and who 'are not afraid to say whats on their minds", only to see those residents discharged, "kicked out" of the home shortly after they become vocal.   Other residents are told to "shut up" when they try to bring up issues. I am told this happened most recently to a veteran of the Dorm Unit, who spoke up about proper licensing on a hunting trip.

The homes residents "member counsel" has become nothing more than a glorified bitch session, with the residents whining about trivial matters and the administration ignoring them, while talking DOWN to them about various things.

Dorm unit member counsel meeting was eliminated because Dorm residents stop going to it. They got tired of being talked down to by the administration who refused to listen to what they were saying to the administration. Ideas on how to improve things and how to deal with problems fell on deaf ears (so the residents felt). Now there is just one resident counsel meeting that covers both nursing units and Dorm unit, and recently a member from the Dorm unit was kicked out of that meeting because he was trying to discuss a serious problem at the home.

Long time volunteers and advocates for veterans from the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and others have been banned from the property after years of volunteering at the home.

Several residents, volunteers and visitors who go to the home on a regular basis have told me that they believe the only reason Greg M is not allowed to visit resident friends is because the board of managers believes he is directly connected to this blog and this is their attempt to silence him. The residents say that they think that the board seems to believe that if he cannot go on the property he cannot report what is really going on there.  They are wrong. Joe and I get reports form over 40 people. Residents, volunteers, visitors, and even a few employees contact us monthly to keep us informed as to whats going on there. I can and do visit once in a while when I have time and I see things going on that are just unbelievable and unacceptable behavior from the administration. Joe was there last week and says the place should be shut down and the veterans allowed to go to private sector care places.

Pro veteran members of Michigan Congress say they are being stopped by the Executive branch, and Governor Rick Snyders' people. Many have tried to intervene on behalf of veterans only to be shut down.

The Governors people, the board of managers and the homes administration doesn't want the public to know about any of this for their own self interest reasons. And that is why this blog and its Facebook page exists.

This is a criminal act by those who are employed by the state to act in the interest of the public trust to care for our veterans. And they need to be held accountable and REMOVED and where applicable, prosecuted.