In 2011, veteran Anthony Spallone of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans took the lead on filing a lawsuit against the Grand Rapids, Michigan nursing home, alleging that the plan to privatize the facility would lead to disaster for him and his fellow residents. At the time, Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, stated that privatization was in the facility’s best interests and that state-employed nursing aides should be replaced by cheaper, contracted employees from a company called J2. Dedicated aides who spent more time than any other employee with Grand Rapids Home for Veterans residents would be cast aside to make room for aides from J2, a company with a history of providing poor care. Privatization went ahead and as predicted, residents at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans suffered. Anthony Spallone’s lawsuit against the facility was dropped.
Worst Fears Realized
In 2013, Michigan Representative Winnie Brinks began pushing an act that would address better care for residents of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. She, along with 2 fellow congressmen, were shocked by what they witnessed during a visit to the facility. The privatization had indeed played a part in the decline of the care and conditions there. It was as if everything Anthony Spallone had tried to prevent in 2011 had come to pass.