The federal government has hidden poor quality ratings at Veterans Affairs nursing homes from the public, according to a report issued in late June.

VA officials have been tracking detailed quality and safety measures at its facilities for years, yet they’ve kept the information private, USA Today and the Boston Globe found. Roughly half of VA facilities, about 60, received the agency’s lowest ranking.

The VA released the first public rankings of its homes a week prior to the newspaper exposé, after reporters began questioning the agency’s secrecy. USA Today and the Globe point out that VA homes fared worse on nine of 11 indicators when compared to their private sector counterparts, including antipsychotic drug prescribing, resident deterioration, and resident pain relief.

VA spokesman Curt Cashour said the report was “misleading,” and that homes have improved quality in the past year.