Governor names MVAA Director

Governor names MVAA Director

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder today announced James Robert Redford has been named director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. Redford was named MVAA interim director on Feb. 19, following troubling audits at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

“I knew Jim was the right person for the job because of his steadfast commitment to his country and to the fellow Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Airmen who have served with him,” Snyder said. “Jim’s quick work in addressing deficiencies within the department in just the first two months as interim director shows great promise.”

The audit at the Grand Rapids home focused on medical administration, member care documentation, handling of complaints and financial management. It also addressed ongoing staffing shortages and non-narcotic pharmaceutical controls.

Snyder pledged each audit finding would be addressed, which is a call for improvement Redford has taken to heart.

“I remain committed to continuous improvement at GRHV and throughout the agency,” Redford said. “Together, we are working to create an environment that is respectful and caring, and we are doing so by holding ourselves to a higher standard.”

In the past two months, Redford has worked with Michigan Veteran Health System CEO Leslie Shanlian to strengthen the health system and update both state veterans homes. The staff structure at GRHV has been reorganized to ensure person-centered care. Five nursing positions have been created to assist in creating and updating comprehensive care plans. Complaints are now being addressed within 24 hours, with total resolution occurring within 72 hours.

To support these efforts, Redford also has been working closely with the Michigan Legislature to secure resources to address the findings identified by the audit as well as new challenges that arise as GRHV continues to improve service delivery.

“There is still much work to be done, and we will get it done by everyone working together on the goal we all share: the best care possible for our veterans,” Redford said.

MVAA also continues to connect Michigan veterans and their families to services and benefits throughout the state, which is the primary mission of the agency. MVAA recognizes Veteran-Friendly Employers for their commitment to including veterans in the workforce; supports student veterans on 15 college campuses through the Michigan Veteran Education Initiative; helps veterans overcome financial emergencies through the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund; ensures veterans in each of the state’s 83 counties have access to an accredited benefits counselor; and works with veterans and their dependents 24/7/365 through its toll-free hotline, 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).

Redford served 28 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a captain in 2012. He received the Legion of Merit, six Navy and Marine Corps commendation medals and two Navy Achievement medals.

Redford was elected as a Kent County Circuit Court judge in 2002 and joined the Snyder administration in 2014 as chief legal counsel. He is a member of the Walter Durkee American Legion Post 311 in Grand Rapids.