It’s been three years since the first legionnaires’ outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home was reported. Since then, 13 veterans have died of legionnaires’ and dozens more sickened. On Thursday, more state representatives toured the facility, wanting some sort of remedial action to be made.
It was the first time Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza toured the Quincy Vets’ Home.
“I was really interested in seeing the remedial efforts put forth in trying to contain this issue of legionnaires and get ahead of it,” said Mendoza.
State Senator Tom Cullerton, who has been to the vets home once before, says there has been some progress made since December.
Last month, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Erica Jeffries called for demolishing some of the buildings at the veterans home and building new ones on the same grounds.
The cost for that is n estimated $265 million. Cullerton says that might not be realistic.
“Two hundred sixty five? I don’t know if that’s a real number considering the new veterans home up in Chicago is costing about 75 to 80 and hat’s a new 200 plus bed facility,” said Cullterton.
While the final dollar amount is still being ironed out, lawmakers are trying to free up $15 million in federal money for capital improvements.
“The continued plan is to keep testing and make sure that we continue to get the same results that we’ve gotten most recently and that is zero positive hits,” said Representative Randy Frese. “That’s our goal. That’s what we want.”
A long term plan along with a specific dollar amount is expected to be complete by May 1.