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Court of Appeals says Governor can privatize nursing assistants at home for veterans


Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to save money by privatizing nursing assistants at a state-run home for veterans is legal. The state’s Court of Appeals issued the decision Friday.

The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is one of two state-run hospitals for vets in Michigan. More than 700 are housed there.

Governor Rick Snyder privatized about 170 nursing assistants at the home last year to save around $4 million.

One veteran sued, alleging he and fellow residents faced “significant injury… abuse and neglect at the hands of a private company.” A lower court ruled in his favor and stopped the state from privatizing the workers.

But the Court of Appeals says that ruling was wrong.

Living at the home is voluntary. The three-judge panel says if veterans feel they’re getting sub-standard care they’re free to leave.

The court also said a few allegations of contract workers providing inadequate care doesn’t implicate every contract worker.

“Our men and women who served in the military deserve the best possible health care and the home has a great reputation,” Governor Snyder’s Deputy Press Secretary Ken Silfven said.  “This ruling offers certainty that that level of care is going to continue and save taxpayer dollars.”

An attorney for the veteran who brought the case did not return calls seeking comment.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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