State Rep. Pam Staneski (Milford & Orange) hailed final House of Representative passage of legislation looks to improve the residential care for veterans and address several concerns veterans had with the current structure and organization at the Connecticut Veterans Home in Rocky Hill.
The legislation, House Bill, 6855, An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Legislative PRI Committee Regarding Residential Services at the Veterans’ Home, contains a series of recommendations arising from an in-depth study of the home and services provided to the veterans.
The bill received unanimous support in the House of Representatives Tuesday night.
“It is appropriate to be debating and passing this landmark veterans legislation the day after honoring our military heroes on Memorial Day. Our state’s veterans, who reside at the home, deserve to receive the necessary services for the needs they require to live. Veterans are asking for three key issues to be addressed, employee accountability, an appropriate level of assistance, and improvements to the physical structure of the facility. We are not asking too much from the state. Veterans that call the facility in Rocky Hill their home, deserve a suitable, adequate and workable institution,” said Rep. Staneski.
Staneski toured the State Veterans’ Home in February and talked to both residents and administrators of the home.
Details of the bill are:
- Gives the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Board of Trustees more oversight over the department. It requires (1) the DVA commissioner to give certain information to the board to monitor DVA’s performance and (2) the board to review and comment on the DVA budget and major policies relating to the Veterans’ Home.
- The bill also increases the membership of DVA’s Board of Trustees, from 17 to 19 members, by adding two Veterans’ Home residents as voting members, giving veteran residents more of a voice.
- Requires (1) the DVA commissioner to report to the legislature, by January 1, 2016, a plan for providing transitional and permanent housing and implementing the Program Review and Investigations (PRI) recommendations and (2) to submit a report to each Veterans’ Home resident on how the institutional general welfare fund was used.
- Requires the DVA commissioner to continue to provide housing to any veteran residing at the Veterans’ Home or its health care facility upon the bill’s passage.
- Veterans’ Home residents, their relatives or authorized representatives, or any DVA employee may file a written complaint concerning the home with the DVA Board of Trustees.
The Rocky Hill Veterans’ home is currently home to 217 domicile residents, and 117 hospital patients it was constructed in 1938 and opened for occupancy in 1940.