Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has ordered a fourth investigation into the St. Louis County Veterans’ Home after consistent complaints about poor conditions.
Late Tuesday night, Governor Greitens issued a statement to Missourinet. The correspondence followed a joint letter sent to Greitens from Missouri’s two U.S. Senators, Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt, in which they joined Lieutenant Governor Mike Parsons in calling for a full investigation into the facility.
Earlier Tuesday, Parson issued a statement condemning the treatment and conditions at the St. Louis home. He claimed he’d conducted his own inquiry “in the hope of enacting needed change”. Among other things, Parson said, “We are also troubled by allegations of higher than average use of anti-psychotic medication on an as needed basis”.
Family members and friends of veterans living in the home held a news conference Monday night in Kirkwood, near St. Louis, to vent their complaints. They claim the Missouri Veterans Commission is ignoring problems at the St. Louis facility.
In the Tuesday night statement to Missourinet, the governor’s office said Greitens sent a letter to the commission in July after receiving allegations of mistreatment and inadequate care at the home. The statement said the commission conducted an investigation, but was unable to find evidence confirming the allegations.
The governor then instructed the state Department of Public Safety to perform an investigation. The agency did interviews and conducted an unannounced inspection of the home, but was unable to confirm the allegations.
The statement says the governor’s administration then requested an investigation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which also found the home to be following all federal standards.
Most recently, the governor has instructed the state Public Safety Department to begin a fourth investigation.
In the statement to Missourinet, Greitens said he found the allegations deeply disturbing and would hold those responsible for veterans care accountable for any failures. He also said dysfunction at the Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the reasons he got involved in politics, after watching veterans wait for months to get care and seeing families be given the runaround.
The Missouri Veterans Commission is a state agency operated under the state Department of Public Safety. It manages seven veterans’ homes, including the one in St. Louis, which have a total of 1,350 beds that provide long term nursing care. The other homes are in Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Mexico, Mount Vernon, St. James, and Warrensburg.