sunny.png
Tuesday June 2nd, 2020 6:58PM

US senators seek probe of veterans homes after virus deaths

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

A group of U.S. senators is seeking an investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs' oversight of homes for aging veterans amid a spate of coronavirus deaths at the state-run centers.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the senators asked the head of the Government Accountability Office to look into the VA and states' roles in ensuring veterans get proper care at the homes and whether the agency or states have a system to “capture real time spikes in mortality rates," among other things.

“Given the importance of State Veterans Homes in VA’s overall portfolio for providing institutional care to veterans and our ongoing concerns about VA’s role monitoring states’ operation of these facilities, we would like GAO to conduct a more detailed examination of VA’s oversight of State Veterans Homes’ quality of care,” wrote Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts; Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; and Jon Tester of Montana, the ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Their request comes as outrage builds over the death of more than 70 veterans sickened by the coronavirus at a home in Massachusetts. State and federal officials are now investigating the deaths at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, where an additional 80 veterans and 81 staff members have tested positive for the virus. It's one of the deadliest known outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the U.S.

Veterans Affairs Spokeswoman Christina Noel said that “while there is always room to improve VA processes and procedures, the department does not run, manage or have control over the operations of state Veterans homes."

”That responsibility lies with individual states, and for questions about the performance of state-run Veterans homes, we refer you to individual states," she said in an email.

Veterans homes have also been hit hard by the virus in other states.

In New York, the Long Island State Veterans Home has reported 53 deaths, including 48 confirmed and five presumed COVID-19 deaths. The New York State Veterans Home at St. Albans in New York City has reported 33 deaths.

In Pennsylvania, conflicting reports about the number of COVID-related deaths at the Southeastern Veterans’ Center have prompted calls for an investigation into the facility, one of six veterans nursing homes run by the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Last week, the agency reported 16 deaths across all six homes, but the Chester County coroner has said 27 deaths at Southeastern alone were reported to her office.

Veterans homes are owned operated by the states, but the VA pays for veterans to receive care in them and inspects them each year to ensure they are up to the agency's standards.

A 2019 Government Accountability Office review found that the VA did not regularly monitor the performance of its contractor doing the inspections. As a result, the “VA does not know whether, or to what extent, VA’s contractor needs to improve its ability to identify (state veterans homes’) compliance with quality standards, which increases the possibility that quality concerns in some SVHs could go overlooked, potentially placing veterans at risk,” according to the report.

Noel said the agency has since established a quarterly monitoring of the contractor that reviews state veterans homes.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US senators seek probe of veterans homes after virus deaths
A group of U.S. senators is seeking an investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs’ oversight of homes for aging veterans amid a spate of coronavirus deaths at the state-run homes
10:43AM ( 6 minutes ago )
AP Courtside: Oops, Sotomayor did it again in phone argument
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor may need a refresher course on how to use her telephone
10:37AM ( 13 minutes ago )
In clamor to reopen, many blacks feel their safety ignored
Many African Americans watching protests calling for easing restrictions meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus see them as one more example of how their health and their rights just don’t seem to matter
10:34AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Philippines orders leading TV network to shut down
A Philippine government agency has ordered the country’s leading broadcast network, which the president has targeted for its critical news coverage, to halt operations
9:39AM ( 1 hour ago )
Virus-afflicted 2020 looks like 1918 despite science's march
Science has ticked off some major accomplishments over the last century
9:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
UK becomes virus epicenter of Europe; S Korea plays baseball
Britain has become the first country in Europe to confirm more than 30,000 coronavirus deaths, and infections are rising sharply again in Russia
9:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
AP Courtside: Oops, Sotomayor did it again in phone argument
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor may need a refresher course on how to use her telephone
10:37AM ( 13 minutes ago )
In clamor to reopen, many blacks feel their safety ignored
Many African Americans watching protests calling for easing restrictions meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus see them as one more example of how their health and their rights just don’t seem to matter
10:34AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Britain's death toll from the coronavirus rivals Italy's
Britain has become the first country in Europe to confirm more than 30,000 coronavirus deaths, and infections are rising sharply again in Russia
10:22AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Detroit automakers push for restart of plants within 2 weeks
Major U.S. automakers are planning to reopen North American factories within two weeks, potentially putting thousands of workers back on the assembly line as part of a gradual return to normality
10:19AM ( 30 minutes ago )
AP Courtside: Thomas again asks questions in phone arguments
Justice Clarence Thomas has done it again
10:19AM ( 30 minutes ago )