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.