The VA Was Hiding How Bad Its Nursing Homes Are: Now The Numbers Are Out


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Julia Cohen Reporter
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Department of Veterans Affairs’ ratings of its nursing homes highlight significant negative disparities between VA facilities and private facilities, according to a Sunday USA Today report.

On a majority of measures of patient well-being, VA nursing homes were performing significantly worse than private nursing homes in 2017, according to USA Today and The Boston Globe. For example, 32.65 percent of residents in VA nursing homes reported pain in the last five days from when polled, while only 5.59 percent of those in private nursing homes did.

In addition, 11.96 percent of VA nursing home residents had a catheter left in their bladder for too long, while this problem only occurred in 1.83 percent of private nursing home residents. In the VA’s star rating system of facilities, 60 percent of nursing homes received only one out of five stars, the lowest rating that a facility can get. (RELATED: George H.W. Bush Spent The Morning Greeting Veterans In Maine)

Previously, these numbers were only available in private VA documents. “There shouldn’t be a gap between the reality of how we’re treating people under the government’s care and public understanding of it. This is not a situation where we’re concerned about some matter of national security, this is simply being honest about how well things are going,” Alex Howard, a VA transparency advocate, told USA Today.

“For years, the Obama administration had resisted making certain VA quality data public. But under President [Donald] Trump’s leadership, transparency and accountability have become hallmarks of VA,” a June 12 press release from the VA accompanying the data said.

The data surveyed all 133 VA nursing homes and 15,487 private sector nursing homes.

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