Officials at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy are opening up about a CDC report that blames lack of management for the 2015 Legionnaires' disease outbreak on campus that killed 12 veterans.
Bruce Vacca, administrator of the home, says the CDC report was factually correct. But he says there are no requirements by the Illinois Department of Public Health or the federal Veterans Affairs to follow up on the procedures.
Vacca says crews are putting in new water supply systems and adding chemicals three times a day to the clean water. He has been the home's administrator for nine years and he lives on site, but he says he never knew the water management was an issue.
"In my career in this industry which is 35 years, I have never had an issue that came up that I couldn't fix," Vacca said. "I'm licensed in six states, I have operated in six states. I have never had a problem that I couldn't fix. I couldn't fix this, I felt helpless."
He also says replacing the aging water system wasn't a funding a issue.
"For this particular project, it was never an issue," Vacca said. "The issue has always been since the start is to fix the problem and let's get it going. We are here to take care of people. That's what we want to do and that was a priority with the correction process."
Vacca says the water tower on site is being fixed, but he says it won't be in full use until February.
He says the Capital Development Board is handling the renovation project while they operate the home.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) also responded to the CDC report, saying the report shows highly concerning factors and policies that led to the rapid onset of the outbreak.
“I urge you to work with IVH Quincy to ensure that the CDC recommendations are implemented swiftly as well as identify ways to prevent such an outbreak in the future. Durbin said, in a letter to the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. "IVH Quincy has an obligation to provide a high quality of care to our veterans, and as this facility is owned, operated, and managed by the State of Illinois, I urge your office to consider a plan of action to uphold this obligation at IVH Quincy and Illinois Veterans’ Homes across the State.”