Those who mistreat veterans won't get what they really deserveGovernor Phil Bredesen ordered all of Tennessee's State Veterans' Homes closed to new patients after serious quality of life and care issues were uncovered at the Murphreesboro veterans facility. Among the homes that have been ordered not to take new patients is the brand new Ben Atchley Veterans Home in Knoxville.
Officials with the State Health Department are adamant that no similar issues such as those found in Murphreesboro have been found at Knoxville, but the Atchley Home is being closed to new patients as part of the Governor's blanket order. State quality-assurance nurses are being sent to inspect each facility to insure that everything is on the up-and-up.
In spite of the public statements by State health personnel that all is presently well and fine at the Knoxville home, the reaction of Melissa Franklin, the administrator of the Atchley Veterans' Home, when reporter Fred Brown from the Knoxville News-Sentinel showed up to have a look around does not give me great reassurance.
A reporter was turned away from the Knoxville home Tuesday after making inquiries to Melissa Franklin, the Atchley Home administrator.
Asked if the doors to the facility had been closed to patients, Franklin said, "Does it look like it?" She refused to answer further questions and asked the reporter to leave.
Sounds like Ms. Franklin has something to hide, folks...what does Ms. Franklin not want the public to know about the nursing home she runs-a home designed especially for military veterans?
My wife works in a nursing facility. As is the case with any such place, even the nursing staff feels there could always be better care for the residents, even when they are doing their very best. The people who run that home have nothing to hide-State inspectors routinely give it the highest marks that can be given to a nursing facility. Locals here will tell you it is the best nursing home in the county. The State of Tennessee has recently rated it among the best in the State. The public is welcome to visit there, and I am certain the news media would be also. There is little reason to turn the press away when a facility is in good shape and residents are well-treated.
So why did the administrator of the Atchley Home turn the press away from the nursing home she runs? What is there to hide there that the press should not see? The State of Tennessee needs to find out. I have often been critical of Governor Bredesen, but here is a situation where he and the State Health Department have made the right move.
Maltreatment of our elders who are in long-term care facilities is a chronic problem and that is bad enough. Abuse or mistreatment of war veterans? Those who are guilty of this horrible business will lose their nursing or CNA certification and could be placed on a State or federal abuse registry-but they will never get what they deserve.
Those who mistreat or abuse our war veterans, or who stand idly by when they have the ability to stop such abuse-they deserve nothing short of a firing squad.