GAO cites incomplete data on VA nursing home program for adequate program oversight

Share this content:

The Government Accountability Office feels data is lacking for adequate oversight of a Department of Veterans' Administration nursing home program.

A new report from the agency examined VA spending for nursing home care, workload provided or paid for, the percentage of nursing home care that is long-stay versus short-stay, and the percentage of eligible veterans receiving care required by the Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act (Millennium Act) of 1999 or VA policy.

The GAO found insufficient data on community and state veterans' nursing homes to permit the VA to responsibly oversee and monitor nursing home care provided in the program.

The study found that the VA spent 73% of its nursing home resources on VA nursing homes in fiscal year 2003 -- or almost $1.7 billion of about $2.3 billion -- and the remaining 27% percent on community and state veterans' nursing homes.

The GAO recommends the VA collect data  on veterans' length of stay and eligibility for community nursing  homes and state veterans' nursing  homes comparable to data VA  collects for VA nursing homes. While the VA has stated it agrees with GAO recommendations to reduce data gaps, it did not indicate specific pans to collect data the GAO suggests is needed.