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.
Monday, March 10 2014 10:31 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:31:26 GMT
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Stories include getting your pet adjusted to a new baby, advice on keeping pets safe during golf season and Vermont's first Dog and Pony Show.More >>
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Editor Tim Hoehn visited the Morning Show to share a few of the cover stories that might interest pet lovers.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 10:26 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:26:50 GMT
A well-known Vermont judge has passed away.According to the Vermont Standard Judge Franklin Billings Jr., died Sunday morning. Billings was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1960, quicklyMore >>
Franklin Billings Jr., an iconic political and judicial leader and the son of a former Vermont governor, has died at the Woodstock home where he was born. He was 91.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-03-10 13:36:39 GMT
Chef Courtney Contos of Contos Store and Kitchen in Shelburne gave us her mom's homemade soda bread recipe. This Irish treat is just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Try your hand at it. Mom's Irish SodaMore >>
Chef Courtney Contos of Contos Store and Kitchen in Shelburne gave us her mom's homemade soda bread recipe. This Irish treat is just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Try your hand at it.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>