Jones asks for investigation into Tut Fann abuse allegations

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - U.S. Sen. Doug Jones is calling for an investigation into allegations that staff mistreated veterans living at the Floyd E. "Tut" Fann State Veterans Home.

In a letter dated last Friday, Jones asked Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal to investigate the allegations made in a local news report. He also asked for the VA facility inspection process to be reviewed.

The facility was inspected in August, but whistleblowers alleged in the news report that staff did not feed veterans properly, Jones wrote in the letter. They also reported a scabies outbreak and said staff were indifferent to issues like bed sores, he said.

"Though this is a state-owned and managed facility, the federal government has an obligation to inspect facilities and accredit private contractors that are entrusted to care for our veterans," Jones wrote.

A spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs said they will cooperate with an investigation.

"We have spoken with Senator Jones’ staff to assure them that we will cooperate with any information needed by his office or the VA Inspector General," said state VA public information officer Belinda Bazinet. "Additionally we have contacted Governor Ivey’s office to request an independent investigation by the Alabama Department of Public Health."

The Huntsville facility opened in 1995. It is operated by South Carolina-based HMR Veteran Services, which also runs veterans facilities in Pell City, Bay Minette and Alexander City.

Its most recent federal inspection was last year. The inspection determined the facility was "deficiency free," according to a news release from the Alabama Nursing Homes Association.

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