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Staff at Veterans Nursing Home Feels Terrorized By Administrator

Staff at Veterans Nursing Home Feels Terrorized By Administrator

The Orlando Sentinel

August 30, 2009

DAYTONA BEACH – A State Department of Children and Families Inspector General’s Investigation found that many staffers at a Daytona Beach Veteran’s Nursing Home found the workplace environment to be problematic.

The probe found that 35 of 57 staff members had particular concerns about the administrator at the Emory L. Bennett Memorial State Veteran’s Nursing Home. The administrator, Belkis Pineyro-Wiggins, was described by those 35 employees as “terrorizing” or “belittling” and “degrading” or “threatening,” according to the 13-page Management Review completed earlier this month.

In a comments section at the end of the report, the Inspector General’s Office recommended that the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs review specific portions ot the document and determine appropriate actions.

One staffer told the investigators that Pineyro-Wiggins referred to a resident as a “pig,” made fun of that resident and said the resident was “too fat.” Pineyro-Wiggins denied ever speaking to or about a resident in such a derogatory way.

The report also indicates that staffers did not have concerns about the safety or treatment of residents at the facility.

The most serious claims involve the way staffers say Pineyro-Wiggins treated them. One staffer, for instance, said that Pineyro-Wiggins "berated and degraded kitchen staff and spoke to them “like they were children,” according to the report.

But she did tell the I.G.’s office that when she started work at the nursing home “she discovered that staff members previously experienced a lenient environment where policies and procedures may not have been enforced.” She also said that many staffers resisted change to their work environment.

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