LANSING — State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapid) voted for proposals Wednesday that take steps toward improving the quality of care problems caused by privatization at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Two audits of the Grand Rapids facility have found widespread problems at the home following the privatization of direct care workers, including chronic understaffing, unanswered patient location or fall alerts and the failure of the home to follow up on allegations of neglect and abuse.

“Improving the quality of care at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has been a priority of mine since I came to the Legislature in 2013,” Rep. Brinks said. “This package of legislation moves us closer to addressing those problems and restoring the excellent quality of care that our veterans deserve.”

Rep. Brinks began calling attention to quality of care problems in early 2013. The efforts of Rep. Brinks and other patient advocates led to two state audits and the creation of a bipartisan work group, which suggested several improvements that would ensure that veterans received the quality of care they earned. The bills voted on Wednesday, Senate Bills 1097-1100, contain many of those suggestions.

“These bills are the first real effort to address problems at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and I believe they can make a significant difference,” Rep. Brinks said. “I’m glad that my concerns about these bills were addressed, and I hope that conditions at the Grand Rapids home will improve as a result. I will always be there for the residents of the home and their families, and I will continue to fight for excellent care at state-run veterans homes when I return to the Legislature next year.”