Construction plan unveiled for Quincy Veterans Home - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Construction plan unveiled for Quincy Veterans Home

Illinois Veteran's Home Illinois Veteran's Home

Illinois lawmakers met again Monday in a bipartisan House and Senate committee investigation into the deadly Legionnaires' outbreak at the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy.

This was the fourth time lawmakers have met to discuss this issue. Monday's meeting took place at the Bilandic Building in Chicago.

Monday's hearing comes on the heels of recently released emails that appear to show that officials tried to limit public information during the outbreak that killed 12 veterans and sickened dozens more.

During the hearing, the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Erica Jeffries said a final report of a long-term plan along with a specific dollar amount will be complete by May 1. She said the plan will call for demolishing old Veterans Home buildings, where Legionnaires concerns are the greatest, and building new ones. She said the plan should take three to five years. 

Illinois lawmakers are trying to free up $15 million in federal money for capital improvements. 

Jeffries told WGEM's Gene Kennedy that the VA is weighing options now on where they would move the 350 residents on campus while work is underway. 

The proposed solution comes almost three years after news of Legionnaire's Disease at the Veterans Home was first made pubic. It has since killed 13 veterans and sickened dozens of others.

In 2016 an engineering report suggested replacing the home's plumbing. However, it was decided that they install a new water treatment plant instead. Jeffries said they thought a new water treatment plant would help solve the problem and they don't feel a plumbing overhaul is the best use of taxpayer money.

"We would be putting brand new piping in buildings that are 60 and 70 plus years old," Jeffries said. "By the end of next week, all the faucets and filters campus wide will be replaced." Jeffries thinks that will help prevent the Legionella Bacteria from spreading.

State agency heads say they are now collaborating with the Governor's newly appointed special adviser, Mike Hoffman on the Veterans Home project. Hoffman was not in attendance at the meeting today, he was in Quincy.

Finally, McCann renewed his called for the resignation of Dr. Nirav Shah, the Director of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health. 

"All of you are doing a great job of playing rope-a-dope," McCann said. "Whenever someone asks you a question up here you start talking about how great the team is and how great of a job you've done almost as if you hope the press puts that in the paper. We know we have a great team over there, we have a great team at the Quincy Veterans Home. We also think so much of them that we didn't properly identify that they were not working in a safe workplace."

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