ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH)– The Connecticut Office of Program Review and Investigations (PRI) released the results of their six-month investigation into the Veterans Home at Rocky Hill on Friday.
The report, a 117-page document, makes recommendations for changes to the veteran worker program, increasing hospital staff and corrections to other issues.
To view the report, click here.
“If you have been to this facility, you should be embarrassed,” said State Rep. Christine Carpino at Friday’s hearing.
Carpino took a three-hour tour of the facility and has spoken privately with many veterans, including veterans working at the facility. Currently, many veterans work in a Veteran Worker Detail program. The program has been the source of many complaints. Veterans complain about the pay, which is sometimes less than minimum wage, and no overtime pay, despite round the clock ‘on-duty’ status. The committee recommended converting the positions to state employee positions through a “standard, public recruitment process that gives a hiring preference to current Veteran Workers.”
Other issues include a waiting list at the health care facility and possible license violation.
“The [Health Care Facility] is required to have a certain level of medical staff present at the facility, including medical doctors and a licensed pharmacist,” explains the PRI report. “At this time, the [Health Care Facilities] current staffing levels are not sufficient to avoid overtime costs or use of outside nursing services when there is not enough facility staff to cover shifts.”
Investigators also found four veterans waiting for beds in the Health Care Facility, due to a lack of open beds.
The DVA Board of Trustees failed to meet regularly, violating state statute. According to the report, the board has met sporadically since 2012, sometimes for several months without meeting.
This report comes on the heels of bed bugs being found in four buildings at the Rocky Hill facility. Commissioner Joseph Perkins said the bugs are being treated with heat, and referred to the infestation as “minor.” In response to the PRI report, his staff said they welcomed it.
“I can tell you that we have read the report and there are no surprises on our end,” said Executive Assistant Tammy Marzik. “Many of the recommendations brought up have already been addressed and corrective action plans have already been put in place over the past few months.”
“Although some might look at the report as a negative, it actually helps us to move forward and improve on the areas we had been hoping to improve on for a while now,” said Marzik.
Friday’s report follows September’s audit report that found mismanagement of funds and a lack of oversight.
To see September’s audit report, click here.