Delaware Veterans Home head steps down following visitation controversy

MILFORD — Leadership of the Delaware Veterans Home is changing with Tina Foskey, the facility’s administrator, leaving her position.

“We have identified an interim administrator who works at another five-star long-term care facility located in Delaware and will be transitioning to the role of veterans home interim administrator on Monday, Oct. 12,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock said in a statement.

“We will also begin a nationwide search for a permanent director.”

Mr. Bullock did not identify the interim administrator.

“We plan to release that information at a future date,” said Kristopher Knight, Delaware chief deputy secretary of state.

Ms. Foskey started work at the Delaware Veterans Home on Feb. 11 of this year, Mr. Knight said.

Mr. Bullock did not reveal the reason Ms. Foskey was moving on nor when her tenure at DVH will end. Ms. Foskey could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Located on 24 acres in Milford, the Delaware Veterans Home is a long-term care facility that offers nursing care on four units with a total of 150 beds. DVH falls under the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, an office of the Delaware Department of State.

Gene Thornton, whose husband, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Donovan Jagger, was a resident at DVH until his passing Aug. 24, welcomed the news.

Ms. Thornton and others with family members at the home had waged an ongoing battle with Ms. Foskey over a series of issues, including outdoor visitation restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of communication with family and other concerns.

Ms. Thornton, whose only in-person visit with her husband outside of virtual videochats during the pandemic was Aug. 19, said she was continuously stonewalled by the DVH administrator, Ms. Foskey, to the point that there were plans for other measures.

“I head up a Delaware veterans organization (Military Officers Association of America), and several other veterans organizations’ heads have been discussing what we need to do about this,” said Ms. Thornton. “And some plans were being thrown around about demonstrating, writing letters to the editor, contacting our elected officials, both federal and state, to try and express our displeasure with how things were going in the Delaware Veterans Home.

“We veterans deserve better than how we were treated at the veterans facility here in Delaware. My husband deserved better, and I deserved better as a medical power of attorney and a potential future resident of the Delaware Veterans Home,” she said.

“Because Tina Foskey has stepped down, we are no longer actively kicking around any ideas as to what would be an effective way to make a change. Because the change we wanted to see was her removal.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Bullock made note of Ms. Foskey’s tenure at the DVH.

“As a licensed registered respiratory therapist, Tina’s extensive background and experience in infectious-disease control has been integral to ensuring the continued health and wellness of our residents and employees throughout the pandemic, resulting in no deaths at DVH, while statewide, over 60% of COVID-related deaths have occurred at long-term care facilities,” said Mr. Bullock.

“Thanks, as well, to all our DVH employees who have worked so hard during this difficult time. Let’s keep up the good work and continue keeping our residents safe,” he added.

Ms. Thornton took issue with Mr. Bullock’s handling of the situation, as well.

“Jeff Bullock does not deserve to run the Delaware Veterans Home based on his continued support of Tina Foskey, in light of all the residents, the family members, who were disappointed with her performance,” she said.