The Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs released an independent report that was requested by the Governor’s Office in concern over a COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans home that took the lives of 36 veterans. The report says that those deaths could have been avoided. State Republican Leader Jim Durkin says that Governor JB Pritzker failed to follow guidelines in his hire of the former VA Director Linda Chapa L Via and that she left the Veterans home in charge of a non-medical chief of staff who took a hands-off approach.
With the new report, Durkin says there needs to be an investigation of criminal negligence.
Moving forward the VA says there will be correctional actions taken including developing outbreak drills and stress tests, educating staff on the importance of quality infection control, integrate the standards for long-term care facilities, develop an infection control task force, establish and communicate thresholds for IDPH, provide an outlet for escalating internal complaints, and create temporary positions to ensure essential positions do not remain unfilled.
The new acting director Terry Prince, a 31-year Navy veteran with deep experience in veterans’ medical care.