AG investigates veterans home in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general announced Wednesday that his office is investigating allegations of mistreatment at a state-run nursing home for veterans and is encouraging potential victims or witnesses to come forward.

Bill Schuette said his office’s Health Care Fraud Division started the investigation in February after an audit uncovered problems at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. He said he was making the investigation public to hopefully get people to come forward with information.

“The men and women who have served our country deserve the very best of care. They protected our country, and now we have the duty and responsibility to protect them,” Schuette said in a statement.

Following the announcement, Major General Gregory Vadnais, director of the Military and Veterans Affairs Department, and James Redford, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, said the department and agency both were cooperating with the investigation.

“We appreciate the work the attorney general and his staff are doing to investigate allegations of improper care and treatment of veterans in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans,” they said in a joint statement.

The audit said workers falsely claimed they were checking on patients, failed to properly investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, and took too long to fill prescriptions. Auditors also said the 415-resident facility provided insufficient care and had inadequate staffing levels even as the state filed four complaints over a 1½-year period against a company hired to supply nursing aides.

Snyder replaced the director of Veterans Affairs Agency after the audit. Redford was named director in April, two months after he replaced Jeff Barnes in the post. Redford has promised improvements. He told WOOD-TV on Tuesday he’s asked Grand Rapids police to review some “matters,” but didn’t reveal details.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Redford said. “We’re not there yet. We haven’t met all our staffing level needs and that’s very, very troubling. We have so much work to do.”
The audit covered events from October 2013 through August 2015. The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is one of two state-run homes for veterans.