Spotlight: Things get worse at vets homes

By Heather Smith, MacIver Institute

MADISON — Last week we reported on mismanagement at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs(DVA) throughout the Evers administration. As we review more documents, we are learning more about the depth and breadth of the crisis in the department.

Here are five more take-aways from public records we reviewed:

  • Late last year, DVA estimated that if nothing changes in the administration of the Wisconsin Veterans Homes – e.g. the censuses stay low, the labor shortages continue, the expenditures continue – the homes will be insolvent by fiscal year 2027 in spite of millions of pandemic aid dollars flowing in to DVA.
  • The census at King and Union Grove are about half their capacity and well below the level required to sustain operations. Yet even with contract staff, forced overtime is still required of staff.
  • Purchasing rules have been waived for the department, allowing them to avoid a bidding process, and continue paying price-gouging rates for staffing contracts.
  • A toxic workplace is cited by staff and family alike as a factor in much of the turnover and continued staffing problems.
  • Secretary Kolar has ignored repeated concerns voiced from leadership in the homes about the management of her appointee, Veterans Homes Administrator Diane Lynch, contributing to high staff turnover.

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