Saturday, January 7, 2017

WisGOP cover-up contnues at Wisconsin Veterans Home

Naturally this was buried on Page 3 of the published version of the Wisconsin State Journal yesterday, but it's becoming apparent that there were even more problems at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes at King than we knew. And even worse, the Walker Administration wasn't exactly forthcoming when it came to telling others and the public about it.

This time it results from an incident in May where liquid oxygen leaked at the King facility, and a whistleblower complaint that was filed on September 30. But the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Administration didn't release the information until last week. And the excuse given for not revealing the incident earlier is absurd.
DVA spokeswoman Carla Vigue said the incident report was not provided at that time because the liquid oxygen leak occurred in nearby MacArthur Hall and “we did not have any records that met that request.” She noted the requester has filed nearly 700 records requests over the past 10 years.

Rick de Moya, the retired DVA administrator who filed the request, said he made the request because he wanted to learn “how this hazardous exposure to staff and residents could have happened and why it was not reported immediately to the appropriate officials and especially to the staff and residents at the King Veterans Home.”

Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said “the agency’s denial was clearly in bad faith.”

He said he has seen numerous cases in which records custodians have provided records even if there was an inaccuracy in the request, “and it should have happened here.”

“Clearly, (the agency) knew or should have known what de Moya was asking about and clearly it decided to play word games to keep the record secret,” Lueders said. “It may not have violated the letter of the law but it did trample on its spirit.”
Ah, the old "you didn't ask the question in the right way" trick!

This story about the cover-up of the liquid oxygen incident comes 2 weeks after state health inspectors reported more than three dozen violations at the King Homes. In addition, it was revealed in December the King Veterans Home was fined nearly $77,000 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services due to substandard care that played a role in the death of a 94-year-old resident, which led to the downgrading of the King Homes' quality rating 10 months ago.
Under federal rules, the public should have learned of the home’s downgraded status shortly after April 15, when an initial appeal by the state Department of Veterans Affairs was rejected.

But for reasons that aren’t yet clear, the change was kept from public view until late November.

The King home on March 9 received an “immediate jeopardy” citation, the most severe violation inspectors can give. It means the home’s practices created a crisis situation placing vulnerable residents’ health and safety at risk, according to the federal government’s inspection manual.

The citation dropped the health rating for the unit where the death occurred to two stars, or below average, but the change wasn’t reflected until Nov. 28 on the website the federal government has set up to help the public compare and make choices among nursing homes.
And I'm sure it's completely coincidental that we are finding out about these disgraces now instead of before the November elections, isn't it?

Just like how Wisconsin Veterans Administration Secretary John Scocos LIED TO told the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in September there weren't any serious problems at King- 6 months after CMS said they were downgrading them. And like it's just a coincidence Scocos announced his plans to leave as DVA Secretary 2 days the November 8 election (in fact, today is his last day on the job).

As usual, it's politics over performance in Walker World, and what a disgusting set of actions to allow these atrocities and risks to be imposed on our most vulnerable people who laid it on the line for this country. Frankly it's not being covered nearly enough by other outlets in the state, which is likely just how the Walker Administration wants it.

No comments:

Post a Comment