tc 051421SPRINGFIELD – In a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Friday, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park) led a discussion regarding a recently released report on the November COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home. The veterans’ home is ran by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

“My colleagues and I were all horrified to hear about the devastating loss of life at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home this past fall and winter,” said Cullerton, chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee. “I’ve read the full OIG report and it is clear to me that there was a breakdown of communication between staff and management at the facility.”

The report comes as a result of months of investigative work and staff interviews done by the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General to determine what caused a COVID-19 outbreak in the LaSalle Veterans Home that killed 36 residents.

According to the report, there was a failure to effectively communicate and train employees at the Home. Additionally, the report found that IDVA leadership also failed to actively communicate and delegate clear responsibilities to the home prior to and during the outbreaks.

Since then, former IDVA Director Linda Chapa LaVia and other members of IDVA leadership have stepped down. Terry Prince, a 31-year Navy veteran who has had prior experience running veterans’ homes in Ohio, was appointed to the position.

“From reading the report and hearing the testimony today, it is clear that there are areas that need to be improved,” Cullerton, a veteran himself, said. “While the testimony today provided some clarity to the situation, we need to see real changes to the communication methods that failed these veterans. I have faith that Director Prince will implement the changes needed to prevent any tragedy like this in the future.”

Cullerton looks forward to continued conversations with Director Prince and representatives from IDPH and the governor’s office.