MyVFW Social Network    Latest MyVFW Photos   Latest MyVFW Videos    MyVFW Groups    Latest Network News

Author Topic: Oklahoma Veteran's Homes Update  (Read 2825 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline DoggyDaddy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5516
  • Have Dog Will Travel
    • VFW Post 1716, Freedom CA
    • Email
Oklahoma Veteran's Homes Update
« on: November 23, 2012, 12:13:06 am »
On 23 OCT Susan Early shared a tragic story of her father's recent death with a legislative panel looking into allegations of inadequate care at the Oklahoma state's seven veterans' centers. Early said her father died of sepsis 11 APR following a urinary tract infection that went untreated at the Claremore Veterans Center. Jack E. Young, 91, was in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He enlisted when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He watched the Claremore Veterans' Center being built and told his family that was where he wanted to be when he was older, she told the Senate panel that was conducting its final meeting during an interim study on veterans' care. Early detailed her perception of the lack of care and inadequate treatment he received as a resident.
   "I have seen my father wear the same dirty clothes for four days straight," she said in a written statement.
   During one visit, she found her father so overly medicated that he was unresponsive, she said.
   In another incident, her father, who had osteoporosis, was found on the bathroom floor and put back in
bed, she said. It was later determined he had a broken hip, Early said.
   In April, she got a call from the facility saying her father had pneumonia and was taken to the hospital, she
said. "Not long after we arrived I was told by the Emergency Room doctor and later confirmed by the doctor in the hospital that he did not have pneumonia, but his entire system was sepsis," she wrote. Sepsis is also known as blood poisoning. "He had a massive, raging infection that the VA never treated or acknowledged," Early said in her statement. "The nurses in the Emergency Room replaced his catheter bag. It had been there so long that it had turned brown and was nasty because the urine had turned color and crystallized." Early said she held his hand while he died. The place he chose to call home ended up killing him from pure neglect, she said.

John McReynolds, Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs interim director, said he had to assume Early's story was correct. He began his job on 20 AUG, he said, adding that he had nothing to refute her story. "I wish that wasn't the case," McReynolds said. He spoke of another incident when Jay Minter, 85, died in May of complications from thermal injuries after being scalded in a whirlpool bath at the Claremore Veterans Center. His widow, Frances Minter, settled a claim with the state for $175,000, the maximum allowed. An investigation into his death found caretaker abuse and neglect.
Esther Houser, the state's long-term care ombudsman, said patients in the centers were negatively affected when legislation in 2003 removed the centers from unannounced inspections by the Oklahoma State Department of Health under the Oklahoma Nursing Home Care Act. The legislation was in response to a dispute over remodeling at one of the centers, she said. "I don't know about you, but I don't think an announced inspection is an inspection," Houser said. She said some other protections that veterans living in the centers lost when the law was changed included: unannounced complaint investigations; appeal rights when evicted; protection from retaliation for complaints; and direct-care staffing requirements. The facilities are inspected by a contractor of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Reinstating the state inspections would cost at least $150,000, said Mark Newman, Oklahoma State Department of Health director of state and federal policy.

 [Source: Tulsa word | Barbara Hoberrock | 24 Oct 2012 ++]
Joe Kleinsmith
All State VFW Post 1716 Cmdr (1998-2000)
Cpt, VFW Post Honor Guard, Retired (1991-2009)
SC-SB County Council Cmdr (1996-1997)
SFC, US Army, Retired (1971-1991)
Full Time RV'er
www.vfwwebcom.org/ca/post1716
http://vfwwebcom.org/ca/Post1716HonorGuard/

Offline DoggyDaddy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5516
  • Have Dog Will Travel
    • VFW Post 1716, Freedom CA
    • Email
Re: Oklahoma Veteran's Homes Update - Apr 2013
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 06:58:00 pm »
Oklahoma Vet Homes Update April 2013:   The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs lacks proper supervision and oversight of its seven facilities across the state, its workers are chronically underpaid and its governing board has done a poor job managing the agency, according to a state audit released 17 APR. The 59-page audit, which involved a five-month review of the agency's operations, was requested by Gov. Mary Fallin in August after the scalding death of a veteran at a facility in Claremore and other allegations of patient abuse and neglect. "The agency relies on the center administrators to operate the veterans' centers, but lacks integrated supervision and oversight necessary to ensure the centers have positive working environments and sufficient resources to provide that excellent quality care to the residents," the audit states. "This places the veterans center residents' well-being at risk."
About 1,400 war veterans live at seven veterans' centers located in Ardmore, Claremore, Clinton, Lawton, Norman, Sulphur and Talihina. The agency employs about 2,000 state workers, said agency spokesman Shane Faulkner. Among the problem areas identified in the report are inconsistent training, low wages and some administrators' disregard for staff input. "They've got to figure out ways to retain people longer, and investigations should be more centralized and conducted by someone outside the facility," Jones said. "It's kind of like the facility directors run their own centers. "We think they should set up standard operating procedures for all the centers instead of giving the individual directors such a long leash." The agency said in a statement that it already has taken steps to comply with many of the audit's recommendations, including the appointment of a deputy director to oversee daily operations and a revamping of the War Veterans Commission that oversees the agency. "ODVA concurs with the findings in the audit and has implemented many changes that fall in line with recommendations made in the report," the agency said.
Two bills pending in the Legislature this session would address some of the problems, including a measure that would require the veterans' centers to be regularly inspected by the Department of Health, and another that would centralize the management of the centers. "I am strongly encouraging lawmakers to send those bills to my desk to be signed into law," Fallin said in a statement. Fallin also suggested that the agency director be appointed by the governor, instead of the commission, to give the public more accountability. "This lack of accountability is particularly disturbing when one considers that veterans may have actually died in these facilities due to poor treatment," Fallin said. Another problem cited by both Jones and Fallin is that the pool of potential members of the War Veterans Commission is limited because they must be chosen from a list supplied by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans. "While I support the mission of each one of these organizations and applaud their good work, their combined membership represents only 15 percent of the state's veterans and largely excludes younger veterans who served in recent conflicts, such as Iraq and Afghanistan," Fallin said.
[Source: AP | Sean Murphy | 17 Apr 2013 ++]
Joe Kleinsmith
All State VFW Post 1716 Cmdr (1998-2000)
Cpt, VFW Post Honor Guard, Retired (1991-2009)
SC-SB County Council Cmdr (1996-1997)
SFC, US Army, Retired (1971-1991)
Full Time RV'er
www.vfwwebcom.org/ca/post1716
http://vfwwebcom.org/ca/Post1716HonorGuard/