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Scott Walker
Walker

MADISON — The veterans home at King, long criticized by union workers as being understaffed, would get $9 million to hire 25 full-time nurses and 58 nurse assistants under Gov. Scott Walker’s budget.

Walker announced Thursday he would propose spending the money over the next two years to bolster staffing at the veterans home that has about 700 residents.

“It is vitally important to make sure veterans are well cared for at King and all veterans’ facilities,” Walker said in a statement. “The Department of Veterans Affairs and the current staff at King work hard to provide great service to the veterans living there and we want them to be able to continue to provide the quality care to those who have served.”

Walker will submit his budget to the Republican-controlled Legislature in February. The Legislature then will alter the plan and send it back to Walker for his signature, likely in June or July.

The staffing levels at King have long been an issue of concern to the union representing workers there. Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, complained in July that King workers were being forced to work 64-hour weeks, putting the quality of care at risk.

Beil referred questions about Walker’s funding proposal to AFSCME field representative Troy Bauch, who works with those at the veterans home. Bauch did not immediately return a message.

Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Carla Vigue said the type of care provided at the King home continues to evolve, leading to the need for more staff. The department requested the funding to add staff.

“Additional positions will allow for better overall monitoring of resident care, for improved ability to handle emergent situations, for the prevention of resident falls, and for more accurate and complete documentation,” Vigue said in a statement.

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