Jefferson City Following recent developments in Missouri Veterans Homes, Governor Mike Parson has ordered an external review of all seven Missouri Veterans Homes and their COVID-19 operations.
Data presented yesterday in a briefing with the Governor raised concerns regarding how well Missouri Veterans Homes are uniformly and systematically operating to prevent and, if necessary, contain COVID-19 outbreaks among their staff and residents.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of the deaths in four of our Missouri Veterans Homes,” Governor Parson said. “As a veteran myself, I care a great deal about the quality of care our veterans receive at the Veterans Homes in our state and have raised an alarm bell more than once when I felt we as a state weren’t meeting the standard of care I believe they are owed.”
“We have been fighting COVID-19 for over seven months now, and we have learned a lot about how to fight the virus since March,” Governor Parson continued. “The recent sudden positive case growth among staff and residents in our Veterans Homes, and most importantly, the tragic loss of lives of veterans in our care are, in my opinion, unacceptable.”
Governor Parson has instructed Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC) Chairman Timothy Noonan to conduct a rapid, independent, external review of all seven Missouri Veterans Homes to assess their performance to date and identify what steps, if any, should be taken to improve their management of COVID-19.
Governor Parson has also directed the deployment of the new Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests to Missouri Veterans Homes to support immediate comprehensive testing of all staff and residents under state care. An initial shipment of 2,400 tests was delivered to the MVC headquarters today to be distributed to priority Veterans Homes. The Veterans Homes will then be supplied with sufficient antigen and PCR tests to support ongoing testing requirements. These tests will help Veterans Homes identify positive cases more quickly and take appropriate isolation measures.
Governor Parson urges the Veterans Commission to take whatever steps necessary to ensure all Missouri Veterans Homes are fully implementing the policies, protocols, and guidance that other long-term care facilities in Missouri must comply with in the fight against COVID-19, including the state’s box-in testing strategy.
“I appreciate the Commission acting urgently to improve how Missouri Veterans Homes care for our cherished veterans and their families during the COVID-19 challenge,” Governor Parson said.