CHICAGO, Ill. –As a member of the Illinois House Veterans Affairs’ Committee, state Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, questioned the Rauner administration about the 13 veterans who have died at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy as the result of a Legionnaire’s disease outbreak and how it could have been avoided.
“What happened in Quincy was completely unacceptable, and at Tuesday’s hearing that was made very clear,” said Halpin. “Governor Rauner and his administration failed these veterans and their spouses by their inaction and delay in responding to this crisis.”
The joint Senate and House hearing allowed legislators from both chambers to question representatives of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on what happened at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy, and included a detailed timeline of events.
Halpin took specific issue with the IDVA’s decision to wait six days before informing residents and their families of the outbreak and the vulnerability of the residents to the disease, which denied them the ability to make informed decisions.
“It is evident there should have been an immediate release of information, if not to the general public, then at least full disclosure to the residents and their families,” Halpin said. “I remain committed to finding answers for the veterans who succumbed to this illness and to their loved ones and to ensuring that we never face a situation like this again, where delayed reaction and a lack of transparency turns into a preventable tragedy.”