NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — The CBS 2 Morning Insiders on Monday took us inside an ongoing fight for a U.S. Marine.
Mike Mattern is in his sunset years, hoping to take advantage of a promise made to aging veterans.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory met Mattern sitting on the couch pedaling a mini-exercise bike. Mattern’s life has taken many turns – after serving in the Marine Corps, he worked as a City of Chicago lawyer and was a friend of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley.
Mattern was also a father to Angela and her five siblings.
“There’s days were he has difficulty and needs assistance getting up,” Angela said.
Now 86, Mattern struggles with Parkinson’s disease and requires 24-hour care. He is not interested in moving to a nursing home.
“I would want someone in my family to take care of me,” Angela said. “He does want to remain in a home environment.”
But that has prevented his daughter from working – for years.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes family caregivers need a break. So the VA created Adult Day Health Care, where vets can exercise and socialize for a few hours a day and then return home.
For Mattern, it would be perfect.
“They are doing a tremendous job of what they have to do,” he said.
The problem is the closest VA-approved facility for adult daycare that works for them is in Orland Park, more than 20 miles away from the Matterns’ Naperville home.
Para-transportation would be provided, but the Matterns are told the trip would take three hours each day.
“That’s got to be rectified,” Mattern said.
Angela’s back-and-forth with VA health care provider Optum revealed that only 18 VA adult daycare centers exist in all of Northern Illinois.
She is told only seven of them hold a valid contract with Optum, which even further limits her options.
“I’m hoping that will change,” she said.
Maybe it doesn’t need to. After nearly two weeks of waiting for clarification, the VA sent us 19 locations that are fair game, and then sent another email with even more spots.
The confusion came because of a switchover in contracts that is still in progress.
Will Mattern, who served our country, be spinning his wheels forever?
Angela Mattern said she has been on and off the phone with several of the VA locations, but so far, none of them are a good fit for her father.