Dems call for more action in GR vets home probe

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan lawmaker is joining calls for more action against officials at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Democratic Rep. Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids says Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette missed the mark when his office recently filed felony charges against 11 former veterans home workers. They’re charged with intentional inclusion in patient medical records or charts of misleading or inaccurate information.

Rep. Tim Greimel of Auburn Hills joined Brinks in her call for action from Riverside Park Thursday. He called Schuette’s Monday announcement a political stunt aimed at positioning himself well in the race for governor. However, the attorney general previously told 24 Hour News 8 no politics were involved and he was simply doing his job.

Brinks and Greimel both said that serious allegations against the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans date back about four years. They said that’s when they started asking the governor’s and attorney general’s offices to investigate.

“Why did it take so long to get some action? For years our veterans were calling for help, pressing the help button on beside their bed and hearing silence,” Brinks said.

“Patient fall alarms continued to go off and were unanswered. Patients continued to lie in their own feces without receiving proper care and Bill Schuette time and time again continued to do nothing, year in and year out, to address this matter,” Greimel said.

However, the AG’s office didn’t launch its investigation until February 2016, after a scathing audit revealed numerous problems at the home, including timely refilling of prescriptions and regular required room checks.

“We don’t only want good care, we deserve good care. Everyone of the members in here,” said Tony Spallone who lives at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Schuette’s office said its 13-month investigation uncovered evidence of staff not performing checks, but writing in charts that they did. Schuette said were the checks done properly only about 30 percent of the time and his office has surveillance video as proof.

Greimel said the veterans home situation mirrors the Flint water crisis because of the oversight. He wants more people held accountable.