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Vt. Veterans' Home could lose millions in funding - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Veterans' Home could lose millions in funding

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BENNINGTON, Vt. -

It's business as usual in Patriot Hall at the Vermont Veterans' Home.

"It's like one big family," said Randy Gore, a veteran.

But down the hall it's an all out family feud. They're all fighting for the same thing-- to prevent veterans from losing their home.

"If we haven't made the corrections needed by September 28th we will lose federal funding," said Joe Krawczyk of the board of trustees at the Veterans' Home.

The home risks losing $10.8 million in funding from Medicare and Medicaid. If that goes, so does the $1.4 million they receive from the state of Vermont.

Reporter Susie Steimle: Can this home go on without federal funding?

Joe Krawczyk: No.

Two infractions caught during a random survey could cost this home everything.

"Care and abuse on the part of a caregiver to a veteran," Krawczyk said.

On top of that, they face an unhappy staff working mandatory overtime that nurses say is unsafe. We spoke with Rachael Fields last week. She also came to Wednesday's meeting to voice similar concerns.

"Either you're neglecting your family and your personal life or you're neglecting the veterans that you care deeply about and you want to give quality care to," Fields said.

The state hired an independent third party last week to assess both staffing and infractions, hoping to get the problem under control before it's too late. The Human Resources commissioner says the state won't hire any workers to fill the holes in the schedule unless the third party suggests it.

"It appears we have sufficient staff, so we need to look at is it the schedule, how would we work the schedule," Vt. Human Resources Commissioner Kate Duffy said.

A random surveyor will visit the home in the next two weeks on behalf of the federal government to see if the home has come into compliance with federal law. If not, they'll only provide funding through the end of October. Staffers say in that case they could only afford to care for 50 of the 150 vets living here, the rest will be moved elsewhere, and hundreds of state workers would lose their jobs.

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Vt. Veterans' Home faces staffing crisis

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