Advocate says Iowa Veterans Home 'killing' young vets

ISU statistician found bias against admitting young veterans

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DES MOINES — Admission policies at the Iowa Veterans Home have contributed to suicides among former military service members and may violate federal law, a U.S. Senate hopeful and veterans advocate charged Monday.

“Iowa is killing younger vets through admission policies,” Bob Krause of Fairfield said. In addition to being president of the Veterans National Recovery Center, he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Using admission data from the home, Krause and an Iowa State University statistician found bias against admitting younger veterans, he said at the Iowa Capitol. The federal government pays for the care of veterans 65 and older, Krause said, but the state has to pick up some costs for younger veterans.

Veterans Home Commandant Jodi Tymeson, a retired Army National Guard brigadier general, said the home’s admissions policies comply with federal guidelines.

“The Iowa Veterans Home operates as required by Federal and State laws and regulations (Iowa Code Chapter 35D, and Iowa Administrative Code 801-10), providing long-term nursing care to veterans and spouses and domiciliary care at our residential care facility,” Tymeson, a retired Iowa House member, said in a written statement.

The state budgeted $7.6 million for the home this year and is proposing the same amount for next year. The home has more than 400 residents and nearly 1,000 employees.

Although many people have the impression the Veterans Home in Marshalltown is for older veterans, Krause said it’s “also a place for younger soldiers from the post-9-11 wars that have significant injuries such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual assault.”

Krause pointed to claimed three suicides among 42 veterans who were released in 2011 under an admissions policy rule change. They committed suicide within weeks of their release, he said.

No follow-up has been done on the remaining veterans and Krause thinks it may be impossible to find those former soldiers.

“This is why we say the Iowa Veterans Home is killing veterans with its admission policies,” he said.

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