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.
Saturday, May 25 2013 10:30 PM EDT2013-05-26 02:30:05 GMT
A burglary at the Dorset Union Store. Police say the Church Street business, in Dorset, was broken into sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning. At this time, we do not know what was stolen.More >>
Police search for a suspect that left his blood at the crime scene.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 8:13 PM EDT2013-05-26 00:13:06 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin is urging Vermonters to be vigilant as the rain continues to come down. Especially, he says, with the possibility of wet snow that could bring down trees and damage property. ShumlinMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin is urging Vermonters to stay safe as the rain continues to come down.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 8:09 PM EDT2013-05-26 00:09:12 GMT
First responders scrambled to drain a private dam Saturday afternoon to avert major damage. Officials say the dam on Poker Hill road in Underhill nearly burst Saturday afternoon. Members of the localMore >>
First responders scrambled to drain a private dam Saturday afternoon to avert major damage.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:58 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:58:16 GMT
Rain-battered state roads in the hardest hit areas of Underhill and Jericho are re-open to traffic, but that doesn't mean the work is done for crews. "It's been a very challenging two-day event here soMore >>
As the rain continues to pour down, response crews are not getting a break.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:51:37 GMT
Driving along Route 15, you may notice some roads have reopened as crews guide drivers cautiously around the cracked gravel. But driving down roads like North Underhill Station, you won't get very far. ConnerMore >>
While needed repairs are being made, more work is ahead.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>