Veterans harmed at VA nursing homes in two dozen states: report

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Inspectors with a government contractor found that veterans were harmed at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes in more than two dozen states, USA Today reported Thursday.

The inspections, conducted at 99 VA facilities, found problems resulting in “actual harm” to patients in 52 facilities, according to USA Today. In three facilities, inspectors found issues that put veterans’ health and safety in “immediate jeopardy.”

{mosads}Eight nursing homes put veterans in harm and jeopardy, the newspaper reported, citing reports from the inspections conducted last year from April through December.

The facilities found to cause harm are in 25 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The VA said in a statement released with the inspection reports earlier this month that patients in its nursing homes can be more difficult to care for than those in private facilities because of their military service.

“Overall, VA’s nursing home system compares closely with private sector nursing homes, though the department on average cares for sicker and more complex patients in its nursing homes than do private facilities,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the statement.

“Many VA nursing home residents are being treated for conditions such as prostate obstruction, spinal cord injury, mental illness, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, combat injury, terminal illness and other conditions rarely seen in private nursing homes,” he added.

The inspections also reportedly found that 26 facilities did not properly prevent or treat bedsores.

Curt Cashour, a VA spokesman, told the newspaper Wednesday that the agency’s goal in making the inspection reports public is to “drive improvements throughout the system.”  

More than 40,000 veterans are housed in VA nursing homes.

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