Thursday April 11, 2013

As nurses and staff working on the frontlines of the Vermont Veterans Home, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care to veterans and ensuring that the VVH continues to be a vital resource and employer here in Bennington. Together in our union, VSEA, we have come together to educate our elected leaders and community about the challenges we face every day at the Veterans’ Home. The voice of those on the frontline is essential in making the much needed improvements.

Over the last few months, efforts to meet with the administration, board of trustees, and legislators have brought enduring issues to light. We have testified before the legislature and members of administration on issues related to safe patient handling, mold in the building; and our various concerns on staffing levels and funding for the home. We sincerely thank the leadership of our legislators -- especially Rep. Alice Miller and Senator Sears -- in securing the needed resources to address these challenges. It is proof that when the Frontline Workers are listened to things get accomplished.

Nonetheless, serious challenges remain. The Home needs to increase the number of residents, and to staff at appropriate levels so we can continue -- and improve -- the patient care provided to our veterans. This must be done safely by preventing mandatory overtime and providing meaningful education and training opportunities.


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We hope to work with the community, legislators and the administration in an open and productive manner.

We must also address allegation s-- printed in this newspaper -- that Frontline Workers would deliberately commit deficiencies because we "don’t want us to pass" the state inspection. This is an insult to our integrity as employees and our devotion to the veterans, our co-workers and the Bennington Community. Despite outside consultant’s apprehensions, we passed the inspection with flying colors which illustrates our dedication to "Save the Vet’s Home and Listen to the Frontline Workers!" We would also like to thank all of the community for their support this weekend at our Honk and Wave.

RACHEL FIELDS

Bennington

On behalf of the "Save the Vet’s Home and Listen to the Frontline Workers" Coordinating Committee.