VMTwatch.org looks at the controversial healthcare businesses run by D.C. contractor Solanges Vivens and is part of an effort to stop VMT’s misuse of public funds and improve the care it offers District residents. Read more

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Controversial D.C. Contractor VMT Facing Scrutiny Online & On the Street

CONTACT: Jim McNeill, Cell (301) 801-6902, jim.mcneill@1199.org

As controversial healthcare contractor VMT holds open house at education center, VMTwatch.org distributes leaflets on street and goes live online.

VMTwatch.org, sponsored by 1199SEIU caregivers, exposes problems at firm running nursing home and home health agency with taxpayer money.

  • D.C. Inspector General: VMT wrongly spent $120K in public funds
  • U.S. Labor Dept.: VMT withheld $1.7 million in benefits from workers

WHAT: Website Launch Online + Leafleting On the Street
VMTwatch.org + 4201 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – VMT Long Term Care Management, a controversial D.C. contractor that operates multiple healthcare businesses, is facing serious scrutiny today both online and on the street.

VMTwatch.org went live today with a comprehensive look at the problems at VMT, which manages a D.C.-owned nursing home, runs a publicly funded home healthcare agency, and operates a troubled education center in the District. Controversies exposed by VMTwatch.org include:

  • The D.C. Inspector General found that VMT wrongly spent more than $120,000 in public funds while managing the Washington Center for Aging Services, a city-owned nursing home that VMT managed until losing the contract in 2010.
  • The D.C. government has ordered VMT to return the $120,000, but it has refused and is pursuing an appeal that could drag on till at least 2012.
  • The U.S. Labor Department determined in December 2009 that VMT wrongly withheld $1.7 million in health and welfare benefits from nearly 500 workers at the Washington Center for Aging Services.

Today’s launch of VMTwatch.org comes on the same day that VMT is holding an open house at its education center in Washington’s Van Ness neighborhood. Outside the center, caregivers with the healthcare union 1199SEIU are passing out leaflets noting that VMT’s LPN training program has the highest failure rate of any licensed program in the District. The D.C. Board of Nursing closed a previous VMT LPN program in 2003, and has placed the current program on conditional status and could shut it down.

The caregivers of 1199SEIU have been working to raise healthcare standards at VMT since 2008, when workers at its home healthy agency voted to unite in 1199SEIU. In 2009, workers at the Washington Center for Aging Services voted to join 1199, and in February 2010, caregivers at the city-owned, VMT-run J.B. Johnson Nursing Center voted 165-0 to join the union.

In all three instances, VMT CEO Solanges Vivens has mounted aggressive anti-worker campaigns and refused to settle fair contracts with the caregivers after they voted to join the union. The 1199SEIU caregivers are sponsoring VMTwatch.org to ensure that D.C. public officials and residents have the information they need to determine whether VMT is able to provide the high-level of care the District deserves. 

The Maryland/DC Division of 1199SEIU includes more than 10,000 caregivers working in the hospitals, nursing homes and clinics of Washington, D.C. and Maryland. We’re a division of 1199SEIU–United Healthcare Workers East, the dynamic union of more than 300,000 caregivers along the East Coast. 1199SEIU is part of the Service Employees International Union, America’s largest healthcare union representing more than 1.1 million caregivers.