An interim administrator was named to the troubled St. Louis Veterans Home late Friday afternoon.
Nursing home administrator Stan Smith was appointed to be interim head of the operation by interim Missouri Veterans Commission Executive Director Grace Link.
Smith replaces Rolando Carter, who remains on administrative leave while Link assesses his status. An investigation of the facility by the private-sector firm Harmony Healthcare International was launched by Governor Eric Greitens’ office after four previous inspections found no inadequacies.
The appraisal on behalf of the governor found problems, including malnutrition, bed sores, and medications not being given on time.
Greitens also replaced all five of previous Governor Jay Nixon’s appointees to the Missouri Veterans Commission. Interim Executive Director Link also announced Friday that nurse consultants from the commission are being redeployed to the St. Louis home to provide oversight and leadership.
In addition, the commission has entered into an agreement with a consulting firm to develop a long-term recruitment, retention and training plan.
Further, Link announced that a plan to provide additional registered and practical nursing staff at the home is being implemented as soon as possible.
“Our focus is on improving the quality of care, communication with Veterans and their families and ensuring that our residents are treated with the dignity and respect they have earned,” Link said.
Link herself is an interim replacement for former Veterans Commission Executive Director Larry Kay, who resigned after Governor Greitens called for his removal in early December. Newly appointed interim administrator Smith has 34 year’s experience in the nursing home and healthcare industry.
This past July, the Governor’s office received reports of mistreatment and substandard care at the St. Louis Veterans Home. Greitens called for an immediate investigation by the Veterans Commission. The commission reported that they were unable to find evidence confirming the allegations.
The governor then instructed the Department of Public Safety to follow up, looking for any criminal misconduct. At the conclusion of its work, the Department of Public Safety advised Greitens to call in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct another full and complete investigation.
The governor then requested an investigation from the VA. The VA concluded that the St. Louis Veterans Home met all quality thresholds. Based on concerns raised by family members, Greitens felt it was necessary to have an independent party conduct an investigation.
Missourinet correspondent Jill Enders contributed to this story