Change in Ownership




Change in Ownership
By: Wendy Ray

ANNA, IL --During a whirlwind tour through Southern Illinois Monday, Governor Rod Blagojevich made a big move concerning the Anna Veterans Home.

The Veterans Home in Anna has been a source of controversy for years. Since it opened in 1994 it's had four different private owners
, and it's changing over once again. But this move in management could be it's last. Governor Blagojevich signed a bill transferring ownership of the home back to the state. It's a move that a lot of people have looked forward to for a long time.

State Representative Mike Bost says, "The most critical time of a person's life is when they need that type of care." Care, that's given to the veterans who live inside the Anna Veterans Home. But Bost says that care has been interrupted over the years, due to constant changes by private owners. "They did not provide the care that happens at Quincy and other veterans homes across the state." he says.

Bost pushed for state ownership for years, he's not alone. During an interview in September of 2001, Buddy Maupin, the regional director for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal employees was fed up. "This privatization experiment's been a failure. The state needs to accept responsibility for these veterans who serve their country, who deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect the vets up north get treated with and take over the operation of this facility," Maupin says.

The Anna Veterans Home is one of four in Illinois, and the only one that is not managed by the state. Bost adds the decision to change ownership will result in better care, saying money and profits motivated private owners, not the veterans who live there. "There won't be any skimping to make profit margins, there will be better quality meals, better healthcare," Bost says.

Bost also says none of the employees will lose their jobs, they'll become employees of the state.

He adds at first, operating costs may be a little more expensive while the transfer of ownership is taking place, but in the long run they should be lower.