Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 18, 2010

Minnesota Veteran Homes Administrator Retaliation Against Residents, Reminiscent of Cold War Russian Tactics

ull article at: Minn. Veterans Home Officials Suspended for Allegedly Punishing Residents Who Complain

Published November 16, 2010

Louie Klimek

Top administrators of a Minnesota veterans home have been suspended for allegedly retaliating against veterans who complained about their quality of care.

Problems at the Veterans Home in Hastings were first discovered this summer by the Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general after a veteran staying at the home complained to Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

The whistleblower said administrators went as far as to swap one veteran’s medication, then tried to have that veteran committed to a mental health facility because they thought he was complaining about his care to a local reporter, MyFoxTwinCities.com reported.

A few months later, the inspector general’s July investigation revealed a pattern of unethical behavior.

“Staff feared losing their jobs and patients feared retaliation in the form of violation of resident rights for voicing concerns,” the director of the VA Medical Center said in a September response to the Inspector General’s inquiry.

Veteran Louie Klimek, whose case triggered the investigation, says he was just giving an interview to a reporter about woodworking, when he was retaliated against roughly a year and a half ago.

He says the home’s top administrator, Chip Cox, mistakenly assumed Klimek, known as being a squeaky wheel, was complaining about his care.

“Chip Cox came into my room and said the interview was over and had police there, and came and took me to Regions Hospital,” he told MyFoxTwinCities.com.

Klimek, who had lived at the home for seven years, stayed in the hospital’s psych unit for six weeks, as administrators tried to get him civilly committed as mentally ill and dangerous, the station reported. When that failed, Klimek says, they tried a second time, even changing his medication without his knowledge.

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