Gov. Rauner details latest Quincy remediation efforts, announces plan to explore new home
QUINCY (March 15, 2018) – Governor Bruce Rauner today detailed the latest CDC-backed remediation efforts at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy (IVHQ) and announced that the Capital Development Board is issuing an RFP for a Master Planning contract to explore building a new state-of-the-art facility on the Quincy campus.
He also revealed that the state intends to purchase a vacant nursing home a few blocks from the Quincy campus, renovate it, and prepare it for occupancy in the event residents need to be moved to protect them from potential Legionella infections. There have been no positive water tests for Legionella since completion of the latest remediation.
The state continues to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve protections at the home and eliminate risks of exposure to Legionella.
“We are committed to protecting our heroes and making sure they have a safe place to live,” Rauner said. “We have implemented the recommendations the CDC has offered and more. Our teams continue to work with them to identify solutions and put measures in place that keep our veterans healthy.” The Rauner administration has also worked with community leaders, veterans groups, legislators, and US Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, who have been briefed on the current plans.
In addition to the extensive remediation efforts that have already been undertaken, in recent weeks staff at the IVHQ has:
- Installed more than 750 new faucets with special micron filters across the entire campus. These filters block bacteria, including Legionella, and have been proven to be 99.9% effective. Filters have been in use on shower heads since 2016, per CDC recommendations.
- Installed Bolus systems in campus buildings. These systems monitor disinfection levels in real time and add an additional layer of treatment, if needed, when the water reaches housing units.
- Begun re-sanitizing the entire HVAC system on campus.
- Continued flushing procedures and water testing before and after the filters to show the effectiveness at each point-of-use.
Water tests after the filters have shown zero presence of Legionella since the installation was completed on March 3. The filters will be replaced every 30 days, or sooner if needed.
Rauner’s immediate goal is to protect the residents in place, following expert advice that “transfer trauma” poses serious risks for a fragile population in need of skilled nursing.
“We have to avoid knee-jerk reactions that will cause more harm than good. There are serious dangers associated with moving residents. This is their home. Our staff who care for them are like family,” Rauner said. “Our teams have taken considerable steps to reduce the presence of Legionella at the home. We will continue to do our due diligence. We will continue to be forward thinking, and we will continue to explore every option to keep our veterans safe.”
Given all the remediation efforts that have been put in place, the CDC has expressed surprise at the persistence of Legionella in Quincy and continues to support the state’s efforts to eliminate risks.
To that end, Rauner announced the state will move forward with purchasing a nursing home near the IVHQ campus. The facility has been vacant for one year and will require renovations and facility improvements before residents can be transferred, which will include water system treatment and the installation of sink and shower filters.
The administration is also exploring the use of modular buildings on the grounds that could serve as temporary residence halls.
The new facilities will ensure the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs has a temporary housing solution in the event residents need to be moved to further protect them from Legionella. There is no immediate plan to transfer residents.
These options minimize moving risks, allow residents and staff to remain in the Quincy community, maintain their connection to fellow veterans, and provide a continuity of the high-quality care provided at IVHQ.
As part of the administration’s long-term plan, the Capital Development Board is searching for a Master Planner to design a new, state-of-the-art facility that will meet the needs of today’s veterans who have served in the War on Terror. This project could include the final recommendations of the Infrastructure Task Force, which will be presented to the General Assembly May 31. A request for proposal for a Master Planner will be posted on the state’s procurement website.
To ensure the process of modernizing the Quincy Veterans’ Home does not fall victim to unnecessary bureaucracy, the administration will work with the General Assembly to expedite the procurement process and reduce red tape. Proposals will be submitted to the legislature when the General Assembly reconvenes in April.
Rauner is also looking to partner with Illinois’ US Senate and Congressional delegation to secure critical funding for the project. The state will submit its initial application for a grant that covers up to 65% of building a new facility to the US Department of Veterans Affairs in the coming days.