Fact-finding meeting sought on Iowa Veterans Home

Concerns include labor-management, quality-of-care issues

March 28, 2014 | 2:03 pm

State senators said Monday they are interested in holding a fact-finding meeting to get answers about concerns raised regarding the services provided and management at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said the concerns center around labor-management issues that may be affecting employee morale and questions raised regarding quality-of-care issues.

The issues were raised in an email by veterans’ activist and former state lawmaker Bob Krause, who called on legislators to conduct an independent investigation of policies and actions at the Marshalltown facility. He expressed concern about admissions and acute psychiatric care services for wounded veterans, as well as the involuntary discharge of several patients last year.

Krause said he was frustrated that Iowa “appears to be doing nothing to expand state services for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury wounded veterans. He also questioned why an earlier investigation of personnel, treatment and admissions policies at the Marshalltown home had been stopped without action.

However, officials in Gov. Terry Branstad’s office issued a strong endorsement of IVH Commandant David Worley and his staff for their standard of care and commitment at the Iowa Veterans Home.

“The Iowa Veterans Home received flying colors, and a sterling report, in its annual review by the Veterans Administration for the care it provides its residents,” Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said in an email statement.

“Gov. Branstad always wants to make sure that every department and agency within state government is operating at top efficiency while delivering high quality services to the Iowans they serve. We are confident that our veterans are being extremely well cared for at the Iowa Veterans Home,” Albrecht added in his statement.

Beall, who met with Marshalltown community leaders recently to discuss the situation, said he also has heard concerns from officials with the American Legion regarding “events of mutual interest and concern” at the Iowa Veterans Home.

“There’s not a Republican way, nor a Democratic way to treat our veterans. There’s a right way and a wrong way, and I’ve seen some wrong ways here,” said Beall, who indicated he has talked with GOP committee members in hopes of getting more detailed information in “a civil, respectful, bipartisan collaborative way.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, said she supports a Senate fact-finding meeting to get more information about concerns that have been raised and to “make sure we’re doing the right thing by those veterans.”

“We don’t understand the full story. I don’t know all the sides,” Ernst said.

Beall hoped a meeting could be scheduled for late April or early May.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@sourcemedia.net

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