Lt. Governor asks administrator of St. Louis Veterans home to step down
JEFFERSON CITY – Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson held a press conference in Jefferson City Monday to discuss allegations of mistreatment at the St. Louis Veterans Home.
Parson said he is asking for the administrator, Rolando Carter, and the assistant administrator to be removed and replaced from the home.
According to Parson, both Carter and the assistant administrative have a number of concerning issues that had led him to call for their removal.
“The more I learn, the more frustrated I get. For example, how can an administrator’s business decision be completely trusted when he has a proven personal record of financial problems himself,” Parson said.
Parson also said the assistant administrator has a censored license based on having been the administrator of a nursing facility that was closed due to repeated violations. Some violations include:
- Failure to insure medication where administered in an appropriate manner
- Failure to follow physicians’ orders
- Failure to ensure residents the right to make treatment and healthcare decisions by discussing advanced directions and policies on emergency and life-sustaining care
- Failure to obtain a required license from the department of mental health
The Missouri Department of Public Safety is investigating the home and Gov. Eric Greitens asked the department to launch an independent investigation as well. The first reports were received in July.
During the past 10 months of the investigation, the following issues have come to the department's attention from family, staff members and veterans:
- Medication problems, including as-needed use of anti-psychotics and medication prescribed without informing primary care physicians
- The appearance of a complete lack of transparency for veterans and their families
- The inability for this facility’s administration to hire and retain qualified help
- A complete loss of faith between the residents, their families and the staff with leadership of both the Missouri Veterans home in St. Louis and the central office
Workers, patients and family members have also complained about low staff morale and neglect. Parson said they have interviewed 20-30 people about the incidents.
One story from KDSK, said one veteran said he would rather go home and die than be at the home.
“This is an unacceptable situation, one that has been going on far too long. In the health care industry, where the need for qualified staff members with integrity is a must, this type of behavior is a slap in the face to all those who take their jobs as caregivers seriously and treat their patients with the respect and compassion they deserve,” said Parson.
The Veteran’s Administration started an investigation of its own but Parson finds this investigation questionable.
“They are hiring the people to do it. That’s their people that are doing it. You always have to wonder, are those accurate or are they not?” Parson said.
Parson said employees at the St. Louis Veterans Home are afraid to speak out. He also spoke with members on the Veterans Commission who said they did not know about the issues going on.
“We talked to employees, we talked to veterans who are in there, we talked to family members, but more importantly, we talked to non-caregivers. The people who are in the hallways everyday, who see what’s going on, and had been there for 15, 20 years, people had been there for a long time and they said, ‘Hey this is a problem.’”