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House lawmakers hope to delve into Grand Rapids vets home scandal this week

Feb 29, 2016

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A joint state House committee could begin hearings as soon as this week on a scathing audit of a state-run veterans’ home.

Among other things, the report found the Grand Rapids facility was understaffed, and that workers mishandled abuse and neglect complaints and failed to conduct required safety checks.

“This audit points to some very critical problems – some of which you could trace to civil service rules, some of which you can trace to management problems, you can trace to the way the budgets have been structured,” said state Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), who chairs the state House Oversight Committee.

McBroom says lawmakers owe it to veterans to study the findings.

“Their health and well-being, the trust that they’ve put in the state, the trust that their families have put in us, all of this hangs in the balance,” he said. “And I want to restore that. And the best way that I know how is to confront these issues head on and to bring transparency to them.”

The state privatized much of the home’s staff in 2013. That’s after lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder approved the move in 2011.