Feb 18, 2011 8:45 AM by Laura Wilson (KAJ News)
COLUMBIA FALLS - Montana Republican lawmakers have approved a new plan that would close the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls and offer services to residents a different way.
The amendment to House Bill 2 would allow a private contractor to provide nursing services starting in 2013.
Some $2 million has already been removed from the budget as a result of this amendment and those cost savings would come primarily through salary and benefits cuts.
Employees at the facility say they fear that some of their jobs will be cut too and say that would have a negative impacts on the residential veterans.
"We give very good high quality care. they get Bingo, they get music, they get everything, and the staffing--we could give them better quality time," explained Carol Brown who works at the home.
A rally, starting at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, will be held outside of the state Capitol building in Helena to protest the amendment.