Two veterans’ groups are demanding changes at VA nursing homes, following a new report that indicated major problems persist.
The controversy began this summer when a report suggested that 70% of the VA’s 132 nursing homes received failing grades. A follow-up article from the Boston Globe this week noted that an investigation of the Brockton, MA, VA nursing home found staffers asleep at the job, giving little regard toward resident safety.
That was enough for the two largest veterans groups to issue a scathing statement Wednesday that action must be taken.
“The media reports about sub-par care, patient neglect and safety violations at VA nursing homes are more than just disturbing,” said American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad. “Anybody who respects veterans should be angered by this.”
He was joined in the call by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. National Commander B.J. Lawrence. Collectively, the two said they’re speaking for more than 4.6 million members and their auxiliaries.
USA Today and the Boston Globe first reported over the summer that VA officials have been tracking detailed quality and safety measures at their facilities for years, yet kept that information hidden from the public. The VA released those ratings recently, according to USA Today, which show that 45 of its nursing homes have received one star, down from 58 in March.
This week’s report from Brockton said sleeping staffers were the subject of a “scathing new internal report,” referenced in a letter sent to President Trump and Congress last month, the Globe noted.
Reistad referenced those sleeping staffers in Wednesday’s statement, saying change must occur swiftly.
“America’s veterans deserve better,” he said. “We not only expect VA to fix these problems immediately, but we want transparency. Those who sleep on the job and ignore the best interests of their patients need to find a different employer.”