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A breeze blows Tuesday through the grounds of the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

Veterans Home under investigation

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/4/0711/27-vets-home.jpg?itok=IGSVRLG9
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Veterans Home under investigation
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

LUVERNE -- The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is offering little explanation regarding an internal investigation under way at the Luverne Veterans Home.

Michael Gallucci, Minnesota's Deputy Commissioner of Veterans Health Care, said Tuesday that Craig Barness, an assistant administrator at the Veterans Home in Minneapolis, has been serving as interim administrator of the Luverne facility since Friday. Barness, who was at the Luverne Veterans Home on Tuesday, will remain in that role through the investigation.

A press release issued by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs states that an internal investigation was launched at the Luverne Veterans Home "in response to staff feedback."

"Although the Data Privacy Act prevents the release of any details during this investigative period, I can say that it is not related to care or issues around life-safety," Gallucci stated in the press release. "Our focus remains on continuous improvement, while maintaining the Luverne Veterans Home's legacy as a place of honor for this nation's heroes."

Gallucci, who was on his way to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, said further questions could be directed to Anna Long, communications director for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Long confirmed that Michael Bond, who has served as the administrator of the Luverne Veterans Home for the past few years, is still the facility's director. Other questions related to the nature of the investigation were answered with, "As you know, there is little we can say during an ongoing investigation."

The Luverne Veterans Home cares for approximately 85 patients in its facility. It is one of five veterans homes across Minnesota. The others are located in Minneapolis, Silver Bay, Fergus Falls and Hastings.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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