After weeks of investigating the situation inside the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, the 13 Watchdog team heard a different perspective regarding severe under staffing issues at the facility. Former J2S employee Amanda Bockheim says she’s concerned the company will be able to renew its contract with the state in light of what she knows about the business. She worked for eight months in the administrative office for the company during a very difficult time. It’s generally accepted J2S has been short-staffed for at least the past year. … A state audit from the state’s auditor general released this winter found that J2S was short 81 percent of the time over a 4-month time frame. Shortages were as much as 22 on a given day. Despite the problems, J2S is bidding on the contract that will begin on September 1, 2016. … She says as a former scheduler, she believes J2S is almost solely responsible for having extreme turnover and absenteeism causing staff shortages and poor care. She says recruiters at J2S would tell applicants one thing during the hiring process and then it would be switched when the workers finished orientation at the facility. … Mark Williams is the Local 261 AFSCME representative for the state employees and says Frain is wrong for blaming the problems on his state employees. …
Schuette investigating alleged abuse at veterans home
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, May 25, 2016
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday he is investigating abuse at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and asked for information from anyone with firsthand knowledge of mistreatment of veterans there. But Michigan Democrats say Schuette, a Republican who is considered a likely candidate for governor in 2018, should have acted much sooner on complaints that go back five years. They noted that in a 2011 court case against the state that featured claims of abuse at the home, an attorney for Schuette argued that “residency at the home is completely voluntary, and the residents are free to leave at any time that they wish.” … Dillon noted Schuette’s office opposed veterans who complained of abusive care from contracted employees when some residents of the home joined with a state employee union to try to stop the state privatization of about 170 nursing aide positions, at an estimated annual savings of $4.2 million. …
6 companies interested in Grand Rapids Home for Veterans contract
Source: David Bailey, WZZM, May 23, 2016
New documents obtained by the WZZM 13 Watchdog team show six companies are interested in bidding on the contract for nursing services at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Notably absent from that list is the current contractor, J2S, a company that’s been under fire for months for not staffing the facility by state guidelines. J2S has done the work since 2013. … J2S representatives are not listed on the sign-up sheets for a mandatory site visit earlier this month which may indicate that leaders at that company perhaps no longer want the contract. Representatives from the following companies attended the mandatory session as part of the state’s contracting program: Vibrus Group, Maxim Healthcare, QCI Healthcare, Arcadia Heath Services, Career Staff Unlimited and Care One Inc. …
Staffing shortages continue to plague Grand Rapids Home for Veterans
Source: David Bailey, WZZM, April 21, 2016
The 13 Watchdog team is taking a look at new allegations of staffing shortages at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. We are also investigating why nursing assistants can now work at the facility without passing a certification test. … New documents we obtained show the Home for Veterans made a new agreement with J2S giving the company more flexibility to bring new people in. The document shows GRHV will accept CENA (Competency-Evaluated Nursing Assistants) applicants who have successfully completed their CENA training but have not yet completed their certification under federal guidelines. The applicants, according to the documents, have four months to get their certification or they must leave the GRHV. …
Privatization savings fade as vets home answers audit
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, March 26, 2016
… But the planned remedies — another pay hike for the contractor and bringing in more oversight —could mean higher costs to care for the veterans than existed before the privatization push. The audit confirmed warnings the state received about inadequate staffing and quality of care going back to 2011, when the state first tried to privatize the nursing aide positions. … Now, actions are happening so quickly that officials aren’t able to pinpoint all the associated costs, though Redford told the Free Press he believes there is “still a substantial reduction in cost” from when state employees served as nursing aides. … The state recently approved the fourth increase in the cost of the J2S contract since the company bid on the multi-year deal expected to cost less than $7 million a year. The state also granted the home authorization to hire other nursing contractors to supplement J2S, especially on weekends. A state ombudsman is now beginning to serve the home, and the administration has given a thumbs-up to a suggestion from lawmakers that a “chief compliance officer” be added to the home to make sure things are done right. … Under the original contract, J2S, which has not returned phone calls from the Free Press, had a pay range that went from $13.99 an hour for nursing aides to $24.50 for supervisors, according to records released by the union. A 2013 amendment hiked that hourly range, bringing nursing aides to a low of $14.48 for nursing aides and a high of $26.24 for supervisors. Another amendment, late in 2013, hiked the range to between $14.99 and $27.17 an hour. Then, at the start of 2015, the state hiked the pay again, to a range of $15.95 to $27.52 an hour. … Even without including the performance bonus provided for in the latest amendment, the base pay for the private nursing aides has increased about 21% since the contract began. State nursing aides were paid more than $20 an hour.
Opinion: Stop penny-pinching our veterans
Source: Michigan State Representatives Henry Yanez and David Rutledge, Detroit News, March 27, 2016
Our tax dollars should be used wisely to provide services to veterans, and not to line the pockets of corporations profiting at the expense of these veterans. The bottom line must be the excellent care of our veterans and not penny-pinching to improve a financial spreadsheet. Our veterans deserve caregivers who do their jobs well and respond to their needs. We look forward to hearing from the new interim MVAA Director James Redford about his plans. We will monitor the Grand Rapids home to ensure that residents are safe. No one should worry that if they fall they won’t receive help quickly. No one should be afraid to speak up and demand excellent care. Our veterans put the safety of their fellow citizens before their own. It’s time that we put the care of those veterans first.