Durbin, Duckworth Announce $4.1 Million in Federal Assistance to Support Quincy Veterans Home, Speak with New IDVA Director
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded $4,156,722 to the State of Illinois to support the cost of 2016 renovations of the domestic water system for legionella control at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy (IVH) and help support ongoing improvements at the facility. Durbin and Duckworth also spoke today with the new Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Stephen Curda, to receive the latest status updates on the State’s plan of action to address Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and discuss federal VA assistance.
The VA provides reimbursements for 2/3 of eligible State Veterans Home construction and renovations projects, in addition to providing ongoing financial and technical support to IVH Quincy, but requires states to fully complete request paperwork in order to award reimbursement funding. This funding comes nearly two months after Governor Bruce Rauner finally announced a detailed plan of action for ensuring the safety of residents, family, and staff at IVH Quincy.
“While IVH Quincy is owned and operated by the State of Illinois, Senator Duckworth and I have been clear that the federal government is here to help,” Durbin said. “This funding will be a needed boost to Quincy, but there is much more work to be done. We continue to push Governor Rauner to uphold his promise to the veterans, residents, and family members of those living at IVH Quincy to reach zero instances of Legionella infection.”
“Senator Durbin and I are continuing to push for and deliver on our commitment to bring federal resources to the Quincy IVH,” Duckworth said. “Congress recently passed a bipartisan funding bill that infuses hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding for State Veterans home construction projects. The State of Illinois must now do its part and follow through on plans to help ensure Quincy receives all federal funding its eligible for, without delay. Our Veterans—and their families—deserve the very best, and this funding is a step in the right direction.”
Since 2015, Illinois state officials have been unable to contain an ongoing Legionnaires’ disease crisis at the 132-year-old IVH facility in Quincy, which has already claimed the lives of 13 Illinoisans who served our nation in uniform.
Senators Durbin and Duckworth have long pushed for action to mitigate the Legionella at Quincy. Earlier this year, they continued to press Governor Rauner for a detailed plan. In February, they urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take on a more prominent role in addressing this epidemic and called for transparency from the Illinois Department of Public Health on any new confirmed cases. The Senators have also called for a review of the state’s response and have worked to ensure that the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health continue to receive federal assistance from the CDC and the VA.
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