VA Nursing Homes Fail

It is a travesty how we treat our elderly veterans. Fox News reported on poorly operated nursing homes by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  Short-staffing, inadequate supplies, and burnt-out caregivers lead to the neglect of those who protected and defended this great country. These facilities care for the most vulnerable vets in need of care.

The VA is responsible for providing the necessary care and nursing services to the 9,000 veterans at more than 100 VA nursing homes around the country. These facilities are community living centers (CLC).

Recent projects in MinnesotaFloridaTennessee and Michigan show the VA sees a need to invest in capital improvements at its nursing homes as the industry shifts more towards private rooms and person-centered care.

A new watchdog report found that the VA fails to document, respond, track, and remediate resident complaints. The VA ignores them. The report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns that these homes don’t have clear guidance in resolving resident complaints.

The report said “most complaints about CLC care are likely not documented.” Facilities do not inform the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) staff of complaints and violations. The report also states VA facilities often fail to report abuse and neglect.

“VA has not clearly specified which serious complaints should be elevated to VA leadership through alerts called issue briefs, resulting in underreporting. Specifically, GAO found that most abuse-related complaints it reviewed did not result in an issue brief.”

The VA should implement a uniform national policy requiring recording and tracking all resident complaints and grievances. The policy should establish a process to follow up promptly and resolve issues.

The failure to document and track is really just a policy of covering up neglect and abuse. Veterans deserve better. We all do.