New information from state health inspectors shines a bright light on a pattern of problems at the Veterans Home at King that Wisconsin Republicans neglected to act on. The problems at the veterans home include:
38 medical errors, including providing the wrong medicine, the wrong doses, and in some cases not getting residents the medicine they needed.
70 food safety violations that could have affected all of the residents at the Veterans Home at King.
Other instances of negligence include failing to administer treatment to prevent bed sores, following proper bathing protocol for residents, and not having the proper fire safety equipment in each room.
All of these offenses found in the two-week inspection resulted in 14 citations for the facility.
After Wisconsin Republicans made drastic cuts to the funds available to take care of Wisconsin's elderly veterans, no one should be surprised that the facility lacked the resources and staff to properly care for the veterans residing at the home.
Joint Finance Committee members Sens. Luther Olsen, Shelia Harsdorf, and Tom Tiffany helped usher through Gov. Scott Walker's draconian budget cuts - including a $12 million raid from funding for veterans homes taking place this year and another $18 million funding raid scheduled to take place next year and the year after.
Despite report after report of sub-par living conditions and lack of resources by staff members and residents alike of the Veterans Home at King, Gov. Scott Walker, and his Republican colleagues refused to call for an investigation into the home. It wasn't until a Capitol Times expose revealed dirty drinking water, substandard care, and a host of other issues of negligence that Republicans finally called for an audit of the home.
This ugly and embarrassing treatment of our Veterans raises a number of questions that Gov. Walker, Sen. Olsen, Sen. Harsdorf, and Sen. Tiffany need to answer:
1) Why hasn't the $30 million in funding for veterans homes been restored given this new information revealing substandard care of elderly veterans? Furthermore, why were the funds stripped from the homes in the first place?
2) Why did Sen. Olsen wait until after an investigative journalism piece, released during an election year, to call for an audit into King when Democrats requested an audit multiple times only to be rebuffed?
3) Why were the initial reports from staff and members residing at the veterans home detailing problems ever ignored? Why were blatant problems at the home ignored by Wisconsin's leaders?
4) During the 2017-2019 budget negotiations, can you promise Wisconsinites that you will re-allocate the millions of dollars you took from veterans homes, as well as cancelling all scheduled funding raids to ensure residents get the treatment they deserve?