Steil Receives Response from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Investigation into COVID-19 Outbreak in Union Grove Veterans Home

November 23, 2020
Press Release
Steil asking further questions about offer of federal assistance

JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN—Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove, Congressman Bryan Steil has sought answers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In August, Steil called on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to conduct an investigation into the outbreak. Steil received a response from Secretary Robert Wilkie last week. You can read the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs’ response to Steil here.

“For the past several months, I have been in communication with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to get answers on the coronavirus outbreak in the Union Grove veterans home. We need to learn from these outbreaks so that we can prevent further cases. Our veterans deserve the highest quality care and frontline staff at the facility need support. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ response and attention to this issue is a step in the right direction to protect our veterans, health care workers, and Union Grove’s staff. I am continuing to work with the federal VA to ensure we provide sufficient resources, personnel support, and a plan to keep Wisconsin veterans safe,” said Steil.

The response notes that federal officials offered consultation and staffing assistance to the state veterans home in May. That offer was declined until August, after the outbreak occurred. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ response directly states, “(a)t the direction of Milwaukee’s VAMC director, the State Veterans Home VA Medical Facility Representative offered the Wisconsin State Veterans Home at Union Grove consultation and staffing support on May 27, 2020. At that time, SVH leadership declined this assistance until the outbreak in August 2020.”

In response to this information, Steil reached out to the Wisconsin Secretary of Veterans Affairs requesting clarification. You can find that letter here.

Read Steil’s letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs calling for an investigation here.