The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should do more to ensure delivery of quality care to residents of state veterans’ homes, the government’s chief watchdog agency stated.
The VA provides more than $1 billion annually to state veterans’ homes. In turn, the homes use the money to provide care to roughly 20,000 veterans. Projections indicate that the cost likely will increase to $1.7 billion by 2022. In order to monitor and protect its investment, VA hires a contractor to conduct annual inspections of these homes, noted the Government Accountability Office.
“VA [needs] to take action to enhance its oversight of state veterans’ homes and to ensure that information on quality of care provided in this setting is publicly available to veterans,” the report recommended. It included specific observations and suggestions:
* VA should require the contractor to “identify all failures to meet quality standards during its inspections as deficiencies.” Too often, GAO stated, inspectors provide only “recommendations” to fix problems, rather than calling them deficiencies outright.
* VA should monitor the contractor, to ensure inspections take place regularly and meet “required standards.”
* VA should share information about the quality of veterans’ homes on its web site.