The veterans’ home board has come under criticism in recent times. An audit that was released in Wednesday declared that the home’s system needs to be ore more open and needs to improve in its communications. They also need to develop a disaster plan that is better than the current one.
The Tennessee State Veterans Homes Board operates a number of nursing homes designed for veterans in areas like Knoxville, Murfreesboro and Humboldt. It serves around 400 residents. It came under a lot of attention in2007 when the inspectors of state found the conditions there unsuitable for safe living. This included accusations of violence among residents. As a result, admissions to all three facilities were suspended.
Members of the management concur with the charges, but say that a number of corrective measures have been taken and more are underway. The management agrees that there is scope for improvement in a number of these facilities.
A report by the state comptroller's office states that facilities regarding the auditing and internal oversights need to be improved so that problems are identified and tackled faster. The state auditors identified a number of other problems with the systems which included the following points:
- The board was found to have violated the open meetings act by conducting executive business at meetings which should have been public in nature. Also, the auditor found the search for an executive director for the board to be a long drawn and futile exercise. The members were also accused of favoritism in electing a candidate.
- It was also found that the high turnover rate among employees was not properly analyzed and this, they felt, could adversely affect finances as well as patient care.
- The system was also felt to be lacking in communication. They were advised on improving the website which was lacking in basic information about how the board could be contacted. The auditors also expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of information on the functions of the board. The audit asked the board to include contact information for the board immediately in its website. It also suggested that notices about upcoming meetings and committee meetings be posted on the website of the board.
- The audit expressed the need for a better grievance system wherein the residents can file their complaint with ease. The provision of clear directions on how this is to be done should be provided along with the contact information for the board.
- Arnett Bodenhamer, the board chairman has said that he is aware of the report and that the board has been taking measures to secure improvements. He said that the board, which also comprises a number of veterans, has been looking into the charges of oversight in a serious manner. He declared that if he found any lacunae in the functioning, he would question the board director. However, he also insisted that a lot of progress has been achieved under the present director.