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Rauner defends delayed notification

Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018

* A refresher from WBEZ

Illinois public health officials delayed informing the public for nearly a week about a deadly 2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a state veterans’ home in Quincy despite knowing the facility was facing “the beginning of an epidemic,” according to internal emails from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office obtained by WBEZ. […]

One of the nation’s top infectious disease experts said it’s “mind boggling” that the state would wait six days to notify the public about the initial outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home.

“I think it’s really inexcusable,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Center for Health Security in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. “It takes you six days from seeing an epidemic to tell people that you’re seeing an epidemic? That’s six days that you’ve allowed that disease to spread in a manner that probably wouldn’t have happened if you would have known earlier because people would have been taking action. People would have been asking questions.

“If you know there is an epidemic, you need to tell people immediately,” Adalja said.

The state’s decision not to notify the public immediately did not display even minimal standards of caution, he said.

* From yesterday’s legislative hearing

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries testified that officials waited to notify the public because they needed time “to ensure that before information was released that we knew what we were talking about.” In the meantime, she said, staff was instructed to check residents’ vital signs more frequently and residents were told informally that there was the risk of an infectious disease on the campus. Jeffries said the goal was to not “incite hysteria or panic.”

Lawmakers questioned that reasoning, saying relatives of the residents didn’t get information that might have led them to remove their loved ones from the home.

“I reject the idea that you had to choose between improving the care and taking initial remedial measures and issuing a press release,” said Rep. Michael Halpin, D-Rock Island. “I don’t know that the press release was necessary, but informing the residents and the powers of attorney and their family members that there was a specific issue is important.”

* Gov. Rauner today during his Quincy press conference

Our team did exactly what they should have done, exactly when they should have done it.

* Related…

* Rauner emerges from Quincy veterans home with plan for zero legionnaires cases: One step Rauner said he’ll take is putting together a new task force in the coming days. The task force will be made up of veterans advocates, lawmakers, healthcare professionals and members of his administration. Rauner also recommended a new facility on the Quincy campus and laid out a way to pay for it. “I also want to work with philanthropists and businesses that would be willing to donate both financial resources as well as technical capability,” Rauner said.

* Rauner leaving vets home, says water systems to be upgraded after Legionnaires’: During his week stay, Rauner said: “I’ve drunken the water from the sinks, as well as other sources.”

* Rauner vows not to close Quincy veterans home after Legionnaires’ outbreak: “I came here because I wanted to make a judgement for myself. I didn’t want to just rely on other people. I didn’t want to hear testimony or various opinions,” he said. “I wanted to come for myself to see first hand the nature, the fundamental service at this facility. And let me be crystal clear, I do NOT support closing this facility.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    A simple fact: The intransigence and incompetence of Rauner and his administration cost the lives of veterans.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    –The state knew it had an epidemic on its hands before she was sick. Someone at the home’s administrative office told French that his 78-year-old mother was OK when he called to check on her. At the time of his call, she actually was lying dead in her independent-living unit at the facility and may have been that way for a few days, according to court documents.–

    Defend that, Gov. Rauner.

    How dare you? Does your misanthropic narcissism prevent you from accepting any responsibility or accountability for the very serious job you spent a fortune to obtain?

    Is it some dilettante retirement hobby for you? Buy a boat. You can get a skippers cap and a couple of new patches for your vest and everything.

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/state-law-caps-legionnaires-family-lawsuits-100000/


  3. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    It is remarkable that after 3 years as governor, he has yet to make 1 mistake.

    And I don’t think he is using the word “drunken” the right way.


  4. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    There are a lot of WHYs that Rauner ignored, dodged, or was obviously not aware of based on today’s presser.

    Why did it take until January 8 (or 9th?), 2018 to work with Blessing Hospital to develop a quick turn-around cooperative testing protocol for the VA home? Shah hemmed and hawed about that at the hearing yesterday. Rauner is not a “hero” as he would like to be portrayed on this issue. That should have been done in 2015.

    A strategic long-term plan and task force should have been done in 2015.

    IDPH statewide testing at their labs for Legionella should have been done in 2015.

    Discussions with the Feds should have begun in 2015 on capital improvements.

    And, based on Jeffries testimony on the 9th, more staff are needed at this VA home, and the others across the state. Why are there openings not being filled??? Building a new facilities and doing upgrades will not totally solve a problem when you need people taking care of people.

    http://www.quincyivh.org/employment.html

    The lawsuits are going to bring much to light, and a light even this stunt of Rauner’s will not be able to eclipse. And for the towel “costume” (see time mark 36:35 of the presser), I hope none of us ever have to see that one:(


  5. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    “And let me be crystal clear, I do NOT support closing this facility, no matter how many lives it costs.”

    Said what was left unsaid.


  6. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:15 pm:

    Oh, and just in case someone from the IVH or CMS is reading this, this link doesn’t work. Maybe if you fix it, you might have better luck getting applicants for the unfilled positions. (Not total snark)

    http://www.state.il.us/cms/2_servicese_per/search.asp


  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    ===The state’s decision not to notify the public immediately did not display even minimal standards of caution, he said.===

    - Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Center for Health Security in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

    ===Our team did exactly what they should have done, exactly when they should have done it.===

    - Bruce Rauner, Governor, state of Illinois.

    Who do YOU trust?


  8. - Chris Widger - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:19 pm:

    ==Who do YOU trust?==

    That’s not the right question. Everyone’s selling you something. I’m sure it’d be quite good for the Center for Health Security to get more government subsidies.


  9. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:19 pm:

    This is the type of thing that can sink a popular governor. Thank goodness Bruce has nothing to worry about.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    ===Everyone’s selling you something. I’m sure it’d be quite good for the Center for Health Security to get more government subsidies.===

    “Because funding?”

    Procedure(s) and a lack of following through to notify days and days after… and you’re response is to question a board certified doctor whose background is in the study of infectious diseases?

    Man, I hope Rauner tries that when directly questioned.

    “Yeah, they just want more funding”

    Wow.


  11. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    Quincy Vet Home is run by a state agency. Would the state reaction have been the same if this was a private nursing home, a CILA, or any number of other residential services funded, licensed, and inspected by the state? In other settings, 13 deaths would lead to career ending findings of abuse/neglect and serious fines. What is different here?


  12. - Chris Widger - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:30 pm:

    ==“Yeah, they just want more funding”==

    I have no idea if they want more funding. Maybe they want less funding, since institutions are known to want less funding sometimes. Maybe the random thing the guy in a different state said is right. My point was less “Rauner is in the right” (I don’t know) and more “Your argument is bad,” because your argument is bad.


  13. - New Slang - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:38 pm:

    He wasn’t in charge. Not his problem. I love when old curmudgeons sit on their sword.


  14. - Nortorious RBG - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:41 pm:

    It’s a good thing Rauner isn’t in charge, otherwise this kind of stuff could really hurt his chances of re-election.


  15. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:52 pm:

    @GovRauner: “Veterans Home at Quincy: Every option is on the table to make sure we are delivering best possible care for vets … from room and facility modernization to a new building altogether.” And roll back that Madigan tax increase too?


  16. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Sorry, I should have put air quotes around the “Madigan tax increase”


  17. - Wondering - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    Does Rauner do anything right? Anything at all?


  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===My point was less “Rauner is in the right” (I don’t know) and more “Your argument is bad,”===

    The argument is… notify people as soon as you know it’s a situation needing notification. Choosing days and days to not notify seems like a bad choice at bare minimum.

    That argument is bad?

    Would you want to be warned ASAP your own water is bad or would you be cool waiting days to find that out?


  19. - Swift - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    I can see the argument about not issuing a press release to the media immediately, but why weren’t families of residents notified?

    I’m not sure WBEZ provided their experts the facts of Quincy, and frankly, it is disingenuous to publish. Once exposed to the bacteria causing Legionnaires Disease you either get it or you don’t, it’s not contagious. Once the first person was exposed, everyone else was also exposed by the same source of the first confirmed case, the 6 days don’t matter since everyone who would have been exposed was already exposed. If it took 6 days to take action to remediate the source, yes that is mismanagement, but that isn’t the case with Quincy, remediation measures were taken immediately once the 2nd case was confirmed.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:25 pm:

    If it was no biggie, since it was being taken care of, why wait 6 days to publicly notify?

    You’d think you’d want people to know the situation immediately because, well, they were acting immediately.

    So, why the delay?


  21. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    ===I can see the argument about not issuing a press release to the media immediately, but why weren’t families of residents notified?===

    Bam. That is the question that cuts thru all the bull and gets to the heart of the issue. There is no excuse. The administration put lives in serious jeopardy, and not because of a lack of knowledge of the situation, but because of a lack of action.


  22. - WasAnon - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:29 pm:

    ‘I’ve drunken the water from the sinks…’. Most people drink from the faucets, but, whatever…


  23. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:32 pm:

    This type of action (delayed notification) is typical of Illinois State government. Politically appointed higher ups won’t make decisions because they’re afraid they’ll get in trouble, they’re ignorant, or they’re inept.

    In this case, I suspect they were more worried about getting their story down, than about public health.

    As the Donald would say, sad.


  24. - northshore cynic - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    I look forward to learning all about the lives of the deceased veterans as they will be told in JB’s informational television commercials this fall.


  25. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    ===I can see the argument about not issuing a press release to the media immediately, but why weren’t families of residents notified?===

    According to Jeffries testimony, they and/or their Power of Attorney contact, were contacted. Now, once all the emails and documents are gathered, will that have been on Day 2 or Day 6? And, in the case of Mrs. French, Jeffries disagreed strongly with WBEZ and the French family’s version of events. Time and the lawsuits will tell. I tend to believe the families and WBEZ’s reporting, instead of an Administration that is “not in charge”.


  26. - Dems - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:52 pm:

    All democrats should vote for Rauner in the primary because it wouldn’t matter who we ran against him they would win


  27. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    I know absolutely nothing about legionares or epidemics I think the lack of notice and the lies are criminally negligent. Is there state wide testing for all state run nursing facilities? If so do they post results and this probably should go to nursing homes and prisons.


  28. - Saynomore - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    This is now a senior legal administrator at IDPH.Guv’s hire.

    http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/03/idnr-department-head-moved-after-anti-fracking-parodies-found-in-recent-presentation.html


  29. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 4:14 pm:

    I thought the delay was bec they “didnt want to dilute their voice later on”?


  30. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 4:41 pm:

    I guess compassion and responsibility for veterans’ homes aren’t much different from nursing homes to Rauner.


  31. - Crispycritter - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 5:08 pm:

    Took the bottle of water right out of the sink.


  32. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 6:30 pm:

    So the plumbing is going to be fixed. How long will it take to program the funds, prepare plans, bid the project and execute the contract? A year? 2 years?


  33. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 10, 18 @ 9:00 pm:

    The following is a real lede in the Trib, not a gag:

    –More than two years after Legionnaire’s disease killed a dozen residents at a state-run veterans home in Quincy, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday said he would convene a task force to look at how to best overhaul the facility and prevent another outbreak.–

    That’s right. A task force.

    And the following is a real quote from Rauner, not a gag.

    –“Everything should be on the table, but I don’t want to take months and months and years to think about it,” Rauner said. “We want to aggressively, thoughtfully lay out a plan and implement it.”–

    It’s already been more than two years.


  34. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 11, 18 @ 6:17 am:

    That explains why a certain federal agency gas audited the state for the past 4 years and determined that they are severely understaffed and as part of this last audit they wanted a signature from Rauner that he was aware of the shortage and would take steps to correct it.(Also this division of safety and health has jurisdiction over the Vet Hospital)

    By the way, Rauners team isn’t showing Rauner the audit findings and the feds are talking about withdrawling funding…just a FYI from someone who wants Rauner and his team held accountable.


  35. - Rabid - Thursday, Jan 11, 18 @ 6:49 am:

    6 days to know what your talking about, don’t ask don’t tell


  36. - Rabid - Thursday, Jan 11, 18 @ 7:04 am:

    was there written instructions or just a rumor going around for staff to follow


  37. - revvedup - Thursday, Jan 11, 18 @ 9:37 am:

    Maybe our illustrious Governor should just fund the IVC-Q rebuild from his own deep,well-stocked pockets. The man is a walking demonstration of hubris, hypocracy, and incompetence.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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