June 18, 2018

Ranking Member Walz Statement On VA Nursing Homes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after multiple news outlets reported that nearly half of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes received VA’s lowest ranking of one out of five stars, data VA purposefully sought to keep from the public:

“Widespread underperformance at VA nursing homes is a betrayal of veterans’ trust and wellbeing,” said Rep. Walz. “VA concealing this data from the public until news stories were about to be filed makes matters infinitely worse and is nothing more than fake transparency. Veterans and their loved ones deserve real accountability and transparency at VA, and that is why I am calling on VA to make all nursing home data, especially key quality indicators such as rates of injury and infection, available to the public immediately.”

“In September 2017, I sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a full review of long term care at VA nursing homes, a request GAO accepted. I urge GAO to make the thorough and timely completion of this review a top priority. I look forward to reviewing GAO’s findings and holding VA accountable to GAO’s recommendations.

“VA should be providing the highest quality nursing home care possible, and, while many VA nursing homes go above and beyond in that regard, far too many do not meet the high standard veterans deserve. With an aging veteran population, it is absolutely critical for VA to perfect nursing home care. No more excuses. Now is the time to get to work.”