Communication needed to help veterans

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Senators and Representatives at the capitol said communication is key to fixing the problems in veterans homes around the state. They say agencies responsible need to talk to each other. 

Leaders of Public Health, Veterans Affairs, and the Capitol Development Board testified in front of the Joint Committee on Tuesday. They briefed lawmakers on a report released earlier this month. It details how much money the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy needs for repairs after 13 people died from Legionnaires’ disease they contracted at the facility.

Lawmakers say a big reason behind the woes there came from each group mishandling the outbreak. They said they want to make sure the groups don’t do it again.

“We need to have sound communication policies and they need to be within the state of Illinois with regards to secure servers and protocols in place,” said Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, (D) Aurora. “I think we really need to make sure we have those kinds of procedures, compliance, checks and balances and oversight in place with regards to all kinds of email communication.”

VA Acting Director Linda Chap La Via Admitted people within the agencies were communicating using their personal email instead of a state issued address. La Via said her department is looking to address the issue, but she said they need more CMS funding to make sure everyone has an address. 

The agencies estimate the repairs to the Quincy veterans’ home will cost around $230 million. 

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