Responding to recent disclosures about substandard care for veterans at VA nursing homes across the nation, the six largest veterans’ organizations have demanded prompt and system-wide improvements. With nearly 5 million members, these groups are: American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AmVets, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“Veterans who risked their lives for their country shouldn’t have to risk their lives in VA nursing homes,” is the statement attributed to the groups by US Today and the Boston Globe, which, in June, 2018, having discovered secret VA ratings of its nursing homes, precipitated the VA’s release of its records. As a consequence, in September, Congress passed a law requiring the VA to publish its quality reports.
Of the 133 VA nursing homes, serving 46,000 veterans, 95 of them (71%) received ratings worse than private nursing homes on most quality indicators, and 93 received ratings of only one star or two, on a five-star scale. One star is equal to unacceptable treatment of the residents; a VA in-house investigation of some facilities has produced findings of “blatant disregard for patient safety.”
“Anyone who respects veterans should be angered by this,” declared Brett Reistad, head of the American Legion.
VA spokesperson Curt Cashour claimed that the VA is “continuously striving to improve all of its healthcare facilities.”
Do you have experience working in VA nursing homes? What have you found, and what are your suggestions for improvement?