Governor visits Manteno Veterans Home
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday afternoon a new executive order that requires a complete audit of procedures at the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs after more than a dozen deaths from legionnaires' disease at a state-run veterans home in recent years.
Secretary of State Jesse White, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, state Sen. Elgie Sims, state Rep. Nick Smith and others joined Pritzker at the veterans home in Manteno. .
Pritzker said the audit will help identify the department's weaknesses and better protect veterans under the state’s care.
“It’s unacceptable if those who risk their lives protecting ours are subjected to an unsafe living environment,” he said.
On the campaign trail, Pritzker frequently criticized former Gov. Bruce Rauner's handling of a deadly legionnaires' disease outbreak at a state facility for veterans in Quincy. On Friday, Pritzker directed several remarks at Rauner and his administration.
“What won’t be tolerated under my administration is the kind of gross mismanagement of the past that cost some veterans their lives,” the governor said.
In January, the state reported that a resident at the Manteno facility had been diagnosed with legionnaires' disease.
According to the governor’s office, IDVA will deliver a report to the governor in 120 days containing a review of weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities for improvement at the state’s veterans' homes, including:
• Identification and remediation of health and safety issues;
• Communication between state, federal and local agencies;
• Communication with residents, family members and the public;
• Facility maintenance schedules that protect the health and safety of residents and workers.