MacGregor’s Veterans Ombudsman bill headed to governor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — A bill that would establish the Office of the Michigan Veterans’ Facility Ombudsman is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for signing.

“An independent Veterans’ Facility Ombudsman will be able to identify, investigate and recommend fixes for problems at the state’s veterans homes, so our veterans can receive the quality care that they have earned and deserve,” said Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, who sponsored the bill.

Senate Bill 809 would authorize the ombudsman to investigate Michigan veterans’ facilities — the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans — for acts or conditions that allegedly violate law or policy, or that pose significant health or safety issues. The office would be able to inspect a facility at any time, on its own accord or by request, and conduct investigational hearings and subpoena individuals and documents.

The ombudsman would report to the Legislative Council. Following investigations, the ombudsman would be required to produce reports, with recommendations, to the council. Additionally, the ombudsman would be required to submit a semiannual report to the council and the Legislature.

The bill was MacGregor’s third attempt at establishing the ombudsman, and stemmed from audits conducted by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General that revealed problems at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

“I am overjoyed that after years of trying, we were finally able to come together to create the Veterans’ Facility Ombudsman Office,” MacGregor said. “Michigan’s military veterans have given so much in the service of our country, and this legislation will ensure our veterans’ homes are safe and secure places to enjoy their retirement.”