* NPR Illinois…
The state inspector general who headed an investigation into the November COVID-19 outbreak that killed 36 residents at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home told lawmakers Tuesday that communication issues pinpointed as a root cause of the crisis predated the pandemic.
“There are folks at LaSalle home who were expressing frustrations about communication prior to COVID, prior to 2020…multiple people expressing these concerns,” Department of Human Services Inspector General Peter Neumer said.
Neumer appeared in front of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Tuesday, answering questions about the process behind his investigation. The committee’s hearing on the LaSalle home outbreak will continue Thursday, when the panel will grill representatives from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Department of Public Health and Gov. JB Pritzker’s office.
The Acting Inspector General for the Department of Human Services spoke with Illinois Representatives Tuesday about his recent report regarding the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home.
Peter Neumer explained Gov. Pritzker called for the investigation to figure out what led to the deaths of 36 veterans. Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) asked if the Governor’s Office put any pressure on the Inspector General’s Office during the investigation.
However, Neumer stressed the Pritzker administration didn’t have any direct influence on the investigation.
“Again, I know you are hired or technically hired by the Governor,” said Welter. “I’m sure he didn’t want any negative light on his actual administration. But, quite frankly, I think it’s unacceptable that they weren’t looked at as well.”
Neumer explained his team interviewed employees from the LaSalle facility as well as administration within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Public Health.
* Rep. Welter…
Governor Pritzker gave false hope to the families who lost loved ones when he promised a thorough and independent investigation into what went wrong at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home. It’s not a comprehensive investigation when you exempt key participants in the state’s response as Governor Pritzker did. He owes these families an explanation on why the decisions made by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Office were not worth looking into. This investigation – called by the governor – was not about finding answers; it was about hiding the truth.
Partisan accusations aside, it would be helpful if folks in the governor’s office with responsibity over IDVA testified in a legislative committee about their own involvement.
*** UPDATE *** Deputy Gov. Sol Flores and IDPH Director Dr. Ezike are both testifying tomorrow.