VA nursing home care spending rises by 39% from 2003 to 2005

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Nursing home care expenditures for the Department of Veterans Affairs rose by 39% from fiscal 2003 to fiscal 2005, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

Expenditures increased to $3.2 billion in fiscal 2005 from $2.3 billion in fiscal 2003. A cost accounting system change partly accounted for the rise in nursing home care spending, the report said.

VA-operated nursing homes accounted for the bulk of spending – 77% in fiscal 2005 compared to 73% in 2003. Nursing home care expenditures for state veterans' sites fell to 12% from 15% of total VA nursing home spending in the two- year period. Also, spending for community nursing homes slipped to 11% from 12%.

The VA's overall patient workload in nursing homes expanded by 3.5% from 2003 to 2005. The workload rose to average 34,375 patients per day by fiscal 2005.