CEO of Grand Rapids Home for Veterans resigns

Leslie Shanlian
Leslie Shanlian. (Nov. 17, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After only about a year on the job, top administrator for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has resigned.

A Thursday statement from Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency James Redford said Leslie Shanlian submitted her resignation Monday, effective Nov. 28.

In a separate statement, Shanlian said she resigned to take a job in the private sector. She said that her time as CEO of the Michigan Veteran Health System was a “rewarding and humbling experience that allowed me to honor the life of my brother who was killed in combat in Iraq.”

Shanlian took the job in October 2015 and was also in charge of the veteran’s home in Marquette.

Only a few months later, the state released a scathing audit of the home that found the home falsely claimed they were checking on patients after being alerted of possible falls, failed to properly investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, took too long to fill prescriptions, and was not adequately staffed despite complaints. The complaints predated Shanlian’s tenure as CEO.

Redford credited Shanlian with developing a strong leadership team and “implementing evidence-based best practices that are making significant improvements in the care and quality of life in Michigan’s veterans homes.” He said she “provided the energy and focus needed to rapidly address and remedy the most serious findings” of the audit.

Brad Slagle will take over as the interim CEO of the Michigan Veteran Health Sytem. He is currently the chief operating officer of the veterans home in Marquette.


Shanlian provided this statement on her resignation:

“Serving as the first CEO of the Michigan Veteran Health System has been a privilege. I have enjoyed using my professional skills and experience to work with the very talented and dedicated staff of the MVHS and the two veterans homes to improve the quality of long term care for Michigan veterans for years to come. It has been a rewarding and humbling experience that allowed me to honor the life of my brother who was killed in combat in Iraq and I thank M.G. Vadnais and Director Redford for the opportunity to serve.

“The decision to accept a new opportunity in the private sector was a personal one. As CEO of the Health System, my job often required me to travel across the state several times a week and to Marquette several times a month. Healthcare is a very competitive field with many opportunities to serve our aging population and I have chosen an opportunity that allows me to lead and strengthen a long-term care community closer to my home and spend time with my children who are still in school. I will never forget the men and women who live in our state veterans homes and the duty we have to ensure that they receive the highest standard of care and as I transition will continue to support initiatives in the legislature that would create an authority allowing the state to expand and modernize long-term care to veterans.”

The statement from Redford:

“On Monday, Leslie Shanlian informed M.G Vadnais and me that she has accepted a job in the private sector and resigned as CEO of the Michigan Veteran Health System, effective November 28, 2016.

“Leslie was appointed CEO in October 2015 and charged with the responsibility of establishing the Michigan Veteran Health System which oversees the state’s two veteran’s homes and ensuring one coordinated set of policies and procedures govern the day-to-day operations at both the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette. The two homes provide quality, long-term care to Michigan citizens who have served in the military and their dependents.

“During her tenure with MVHS, Shanlian is credited with developing and leading a team of 4 vice presidents who found and are implementing national best practices in the areas of nursing, finance, social work and healthcare management. Under her leadership and direction, the system’s two COOs and staff have focused on laying the groundwork for CMS certification, creating a culture of patient-centered care, and implementing evidence-based best practices that are making significant improvements in the care and quality of life in Michigan’s veterans homes. Following an Office of the Auditor General audit of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans released in February 3016, Leslie provided the energy and focus needed to rapidly address and remedy the most serious findings prior to commencement of a second audit 6 months later.

“Leslie has built a strong leadership team and provided the energy, experience and enthusiasm needed to make substantial improvement in how we care for veterans in Michigan,” said James Robert Redford, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. “Leslie tapped into her knowledge of CMS standards and best practices as well as leveraging her extensive network to rapidly correct deficiencies at the Grand Rapids Home, improve the financial and business operations of both homes and set high standards for care across the Health System that will lay the foundation for successful operation and expansion of Michigan Veterans Homes in the future,” Redford continued, “we thank her for her service to the veterans community.”