Federal Investigation Called Following Multiple COVID Deaths at Veterans Home

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on September 9, 2020 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on September 13, 2022

Veterans Affairs signThe Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove is under scrutiny following the COVID-related deaths of ten residents at its facility. Three of these deaths happened in early August and in the same week. It was these latest incidents that led U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wisconsin to call for the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate the long-term care facility.

All residents at this facility, which is operated by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), are either veterans or family members of a veteran and require long-term nursing care.

PKSD shares more about this report as part of its ongoing efforts to inform Wisconsin residents about statewide nursing home activity amid the ongoing pandemic. Our licensed attorneys are deeply committed to advocating for our elderly, both in our community and beyond.

Ten Who Died

Five of the ten residents who became infected with the coronavirus and died were already on hospice care prior to becoming ill with COVID. A WDVA spokeswoman interviewed for this Journal Times report said that it is difficult to determine whether the virus was the leading cause of death in these patients. Many of their residents are older and already have compromised immune systems due to underlying medical conditions.

Providing Care During the Pandemic

There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Union Grove prior to August. However, as of August 16th, there were 40 at the home, including 20 residents, as well as 20 of its staff, who had tested positive for the virus. An additional nine cases followed, making a total of 29 confirmed cases at Union Grove – as of the date of this article. This is yet another example of how quickly this highly infectious virus can spread, especially in a nursing home community.

In August, with so many Union Grove staff at home to quarantine or recover from the virus, the WDVA sent federal Veterans Affairs nursing staff to provide additional care support at the facility.

Focus of the Federal Investigation

In his letter to U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, Steil wrote, “Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in America, we have known that this virus presents significant risks to older populations and has been especially deadly in nursing home situations. Given the data we have seen, it is imperative that significant precautions be maintained in these facilities.”

Steil calls for an investigation of the facility to make these three key determinations:

  • How did the facility’s initial outbreak of COVID-19 occur?
  • What measures-in addition to quarantining – has Union Grove taken to mitigate further spread of the virus?
  • Does the WDVA have a plan to prevent and respond to future COVID-19 outbreaks in other state-run facilities?

Steil made a strong statement to the press, “I am deeply concerned about the coronavirus outbreak within the Union Grove veterans home, resulting in the death of three residents. Veterans, their families, and our community deserve answers. We must protect our veterans and frontline health care workers.”

Steil continued with his address by urging Union Grove to “Put a plan in place to prevent, mitigate and respond to not only this outbreak, but potential future cases. Our veterans sacrificed their lives to fight for our nation.”

Contact PKSD for Legal Help

If your loved one was injured due to nursing home negligence, we are prepared to help, and we encourage you to reach out for legal assistance. We offer completely free, no strings attached initial consultations with one of our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers. The meeting is completely confidential and an opportunity to learn if you may have a case and get answers to your questions.

At PKSD, we have advocated for injured victims, including nursing home residents, for over 20 years. During that time, we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Contact our firm to learn more about our contingency fee arrangements and how we may be able to help.

PKSD: Licensed Attorneys. No Upfront Costs. 877-877-2228

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