Some 150 veterans are no longer at risk of losing their home-- at least not in the immediate future.
"Had we been denied our CMS funding it would have been a $10 million disaster for Vermonters on an annual basis," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
The $10 million the Vermont Veterans' Home gets from Medicare and Medicaid-- and risked losing-- pays for two-thirds of the veterans at the facility. It's a gap the state said it couldn't make up. Now, it doesn't have to.
"They have concluded that we've made the changes we needed to make to continue to serve our veteran community in Bennington," Shumlin said.
That conclusion came from a federal government worker who checked up on the facility after finding instances of patient abuse back in August. Wednesday, the feds determined the appropriate education practices have been put in place to prevent any future neglect and inadequate care, but they'll be checking up more frequently.
"I'm thrilled with the result," Shumlin said. "I didn't think it would be as good of an outcome as it is."
But the union and the state workers down in Bennington are far from thrilled. They say these shortcomings stemmed from inadequate staffing at the facility causing unsafe overtime hours.
"The state spent $835,000 on overtime pay this past year," said Mark Mitchell of VSEA.
That number checks out. According to the Vt. Human Resources Department, the state spent nearly $20 million in overtime pay for all state workers last year. The veterans' home makes up more than $835,000 of that expenditure.
"That is not safe for patients; it's not safe for caregivers. We'd like to see staffing addressed so caregivers are not asked to step up that much. It's just not safe," Mitchell said.
The state maintains the problem with staff comes down to a scheduling issue. State workers have an interesting analogy for the idea of shuffling their schedule around. They say it's like squeezing a balloon-- you're only moving the air around, but you won't fill any more space.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
A fatal accident in Lyndon Saturday. It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Route 122. Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blaszczyk of St. Johnsbury swerved to avoid an animal. Her car travelled up anMore >>
Police say the driver swerved to avoid an animal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>