Troubling news out of Maine this week, as the state is struggling to keep two of it’s rural veterans homes open in the face of budget shortfalls and staffing challenges (story HERE).
The two homes that are at risk are in Machias and Caribou.
What is the encouraging news here is that leaders are already at work, exploring solutions to keep these facilities open.
There are answers here. They’re answers that many lawmakers don’t like to hear but when we reach a point that we’re at these two facilities, its often necessary. That is reallocating funds from other sources.
This means auditing which programs are outdated or haven’t been useful in other areas and rerouting those funds towards keeping these homes open. These funds can be used for better pay for nurse staffing, which can work the problem from both ends.
It also means auditing the books at these homes themselves. One problem with the VA healthcare system is often redundancies at the management level, which results in paying high salaries that aren’t really needed.
These are both unpopular solutions, but it’s better than shutting down these homes and forcing our older veterans to have to go even further for care.
But the point here is that we’re losing veterans homes every year all over the country. The easy solution is consolidation, but we’re the ones who lose there with a dilution of care and more logistical challenges to getting help.
Let’s hope that Maine can crack the code to fixing what is really becoming a systematic problem
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