Veterans Groups Call for VA Nursing Home Reform

Man looking out window sitting in wheelchair in nursing home

Six national veterans groups—including the American Legion—have called for the federal government to reform the standards of care residents receive at all Veterans Administration (VA) nursing home facilities. A detailed article on their concerns is available here.

The six national veterans groups—representing nearly 5 million veterans—say Americans who risked their lives for their country endure conditions they call “nothing short of horrifying.”

Their demands to improve care at all VA nursing home facilities came after a recent report detailing substandard care and a blatant disregard for safety at a facility in Brockton, Massachusetts.

The Claims

A former nurse at the facility alleges nurses and aides did not empty urinals, failed to provide water, did not regularly check on residents and slept on the job.

In addition to the American Legion, other notable groups calling for reform include AmVets, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Vietnam Veterans of America. Collectively, they are known as the “big six” for their political influence in Washington.

The Ratings

In September, President Trump signed legislation requiring the VA to publish quality ratings, which are based on the VA’s internal rating system. The investigation by the Boston Globe and USA Today revealed care received at many VA nursing homes is significantly worse than private facilities.

In fact, the agency’s own rating system gave 93 facilities two out of five stars for quality. Unfortunately, this data demonstrates that the majority of the 133 nursing homes that the VA operates are severely lacking proper care for their nearly 46,000 residents.

Data released by the VA shows 95 of these facilities scored below private nursing homes in most quality indicators, including infection rates, bed sores and pain levels.

The VA has yet to release the results of their own internal inspections. Such reports typically include instances of neglect or poor conditions encountered inside a nursing home facility.

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