Congress investigating alleged poor care at VA nursing homes

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The House of Representatives is launching an investigation into alleged poor care at Veterans Affairs nursing homes, after a newspaper exposé pulled the curtain back on the issue.

USA Today and the Boston Globe revealed last month that the federal government has hidden poor quality rankings at its nursing homes from the public, despite tracking that information for years. About half of the agency's homes received its lowest ranking — one start out of five — last year.

Now, after officials recently demanded action on the matter, the House Veterans Affairs Committee has initiated an investigation, the Globe reported Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Committee Chairman Phil Roe (TN-R) told the newspaper that the group hopes to hold a hearing this fall, and may release further details to the public as the investigation rolls out.

The VA has claimed that comparing its homes to the rest of the industry isn't fair, as it deals with sicker, more complicated patients. But one rep disputed those notions in Tuesday's report.

“I don't buy that,” Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan, a vet who served on the VA committee overseeing the agency from 2007 through 2011, told the Globe. “We've just got to do a lot better. It's just not acceptable.”