In recent months, The Boston Globe and USA Today have released a series of articles related to VA nursing home care. From hidden statistics to an in-depth view of one Bedford, Mass. VA nursing home ranked at one star, the facts from the investigation paint a grim picture for veterans in search of elder care.
A star-ranking system, which rates the nation’s 133 VA facilities by providing an overview of the general quality of care rather than detailed, long-term care reports, was just released in June of this year after years of being kept hidden.
Though, on average, private nursing homes rate better than the government-funded VA homes, many of the problems outlined in the investigative articles are all too common in private and public facilities alike.
Neglect, bedsores and over medicating are just a few epidemics plaguing the healthcare system that is specifically implemented to provide quality care to the elderly in America.
Perhaps most shocking is the fact that veterans – who oftentimes have more complex medical conditions than those who have never seen combat – receive the poorest level of care. When compared with private nursing homes, residents at VA facilities throughout the country were five times more likely to complain of pain, reported The Boston Globe. In addition, VA nursing homes were cited as having a higher level of patient deterioration and antipsychotic drug use than the private sector.
More harrowing statistics showed that roughly half of the VA nursing homes dotted throughout the U.S. – about 60 nursing homes – received one star ratings overall, providing the lowest standard of care possible.
In the month following the initial disclosure of the shockingly low rankings, lawmakers have advocated for more transparency, arguing that veterans, more than anyone, should have access to information on the care they’re receiving, and more importantly, deserve the highest level of care.
Tennessee Republican Phil Roe, who is the House VA Committee chairman, called for an investigation on the matter. A hearing is to be held this coming fall.
On average, the Mountain Home VA nursing facility in Tennessee proved to have an overall lower rating than the one in Murfreesboro, coming in at two stars, compared with Murfreesboro’s four-star facility.
In Mountain Home, 46.69 percent of patients reported serious pain in the past five days; 19.74 percent rapidly lost their ability to perform daily activities; and 12.7 percent had serious bedsores.
In Murfreesboro, 19.38 percent of patients reported serious pain in the past five days; 8.47 percent rapidly lost their ability to perform daily activities; and 4.85 percent had serious bedsores.
At Jehl Law Group, we believe information on quality care, especially related to our veterans, should be transparent and readily available. Even more so, we believe all seniors deserve quality care, and we have years of experience representing residents who have suffered from neglect at nursing home facilities.
If you or a loved one has received poor treatment in a VA nursing home, please contact us for a free consultation.