State veterans nursing homes are again being pressured to collect COVID-19 case and death data to help its future response to the coronavirus.
The recommendation is one of 28 to the Department of Veteran Affairs that remains open, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
The federal watchdog agency initially called on the VA to collect timely data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in its state veterans homes to improve its ongoing response in November, according to the report.
“Nursing home residents, who often are in frail health and living in close proximity, are at a particularly high risk of being infected with — and dying from — COVID-19. Although VA does not exercise supervision or control over the operation of state veterans homes, the department provides oversight,” the report states.
“In November 2020, we reported that VA does not collect timely data on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths occurring in each state veterans home, hindering its ability to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the homes and take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect residents,” the agency added.
The VA, which agreed with the recommendations, started to post COVID-19 case and death data among residents and staff on its website in March, but that accounted for just 130 of the 158 state veterans nursing homes. The GAO urged that in order to fully implement the recommendation, the “VA needs to demonstrate that it is collecting data from each of the 158 state veterans homes.”