QUINCY - After 13 residents of Quincy Veterans Home died over the past three years due to illnesses associated with Legionnaires disease found in the home's water system, Governor Rauner decided to undertake an extended visit at the home.
The situation at the home has drawn extra attention after 11 of the victims' families filed a lawsuit against the state for negligence in the care of their family members.
Rauner stayed Wednesday night at the home and reports are his wife Diana will be joining him this weekend.
Friday, the governor released a statement reporting on his first two days in which Rauner said he's spent his time eating, sleeping and visiting with the residents and learning about the home's culture.
“During my stay at the Quincy Veterans Home I have had the privilege of personally expressing my gratitude to our veterans and to the world-class staff who cares for them. The work that is being done here to look after residents in the skilled care unit where I am staying is so impressive, so caring, so full of honor and respect for our American heroes.
“I’ve spent my time on campus eating, sleeping and visiting with our residents, learning about the culture of the Quincy Veterans Home. I’ve been alongside the workers at the home, getting an up close look at the admissions process, joining the doctor and nurse practitioner on rounds, observing the maintenance staff and carefully reviewing the water management plan.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visited the home Friday after harshly criticizing the Rauner administration's handling of the situation. The state's Public Health Director claimed Rauner's office delayed notifying the public six days in 2015 about the outbreak. In a statement, Durbin wrote at the time, “There have been a series of unacceptable errors by Governor Rauner and his administration.”
“We need solutions, not cover-ups," Durbin said.
Rauner was on hand Friday morning to greet the Senator at the home.
“I greeted Sen. Durbin this morning and before lunch I attended a town hall meeting with residents, families and members of the local community, who shared their love for this unique and wonderful campus," Rauner's office said.
Rauner said he plans to stay until next week, after which he plans to report on his experience.
“Most important, I’ve spent quality time with our veterans, learning from them, socializing with them, hearing their phenomenal stories. I plan to stay here until mid-next week when I’ll report more fully on this incredible experience. I simply cannot express how special this New Year has begun thanks to this visit with the heroes who have put it all on the line to protect the greatest nation on earth.”