JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Lt. Governor Mike Parson is continuing to call for action to resolve the issues of alleged mistreatment at the St. Louis Veterans Home, and the solution he is calling for is the removal of the top administrators at the embattled veterans home.
“Of all the veterans homes we have in this state, this is the one that seems to have the issues,” Parson said. “And it’s reoccurring, the same problems.”
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Parson said that the mismanagement at the home was grounds enough to remove the director, Rolando Carter, and the assistant administrator, citing reports of medication, turnover and transparency issues.
“It is apparent that once that administrator was made aware of the possibilities of an investigation, he immediately issued what I would call a ‘gag order’ or memo to his staff placing a gag order on them and asking them to report any requests they may receive for any statements from anyone outside of the veterans home,” Parson said.
“The more I learn, the more frustrated I get.”
The calls for the ouster of the two administrators stem from months of complaints from family members and staff alleging that patients at the facility have been receiving poor levels of care.
Parson explained that the complaints include improper medication and overuse of antipsychotics, issues with hiring and keeping quality staff members, a lack of transparency and honesty during investigations, and loss of faith from the people they serve.
Prior investigations into those claims have not uncovered any wrongdoing, including an investigation by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, but after calls for more investigation, an independent investigation is now underway. Harmony Healthcare International is conducting that investigation, marking the fifth one to take place in the past year.
The sentiment is shared by some members of the Missouri Legislature, with a spokesman for Sen. Gina Walsh telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she also agreed that a change was needed. Rep. Bruce DeGroot was present for Parson’s conference, and gave the following statement afterward:
“I am not a veteran, but I do appreciate the sacrifices of those who served our country,” he said. “I am proud of the leadership shown by the Lt. Governor on this issue.
“Missouri’s veterans deserve better.”
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.