Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement following the passage of the minibus I legislation that includes the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bills. The overall package included Senator Cortez Masto’s amendment to heighten oversight of VA nursing homes.
“America’s veteran seniors have dedicated their lives to serving our country. They deserve the best care we can provide. This legislation will ensure that underperforming nursing facilities are identified and subject to the oversight needed to get them back on track. Honoring the sacrifice and bravery of our service members means supporting them throughout their lives and ensuring that they have access to the highest quality health care and nursing services as they age.”
Senator Cortez Masto’s amendment would require the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s office to conduct an investigation of all VA nursing homes rated an overall one-star rating in the past two years. Senator Cortez Masto’s amendment will ensure that facilities focus on increasing the quality of care and overall services they provide to veterans.
A recently released report by the VA revealed that nearly half of all the VA nursing home facilities received one out of five stars for quality of care, which is the lowest possible rating. The data also revealed that VA facilities fall well below the average among private sector facilities on a series of other indicators, including rates of anti-psychotic drug prescription and residents’ deterioration.
Senator Cortez Masto is particularly focused on addressing the challenges identified by the new data, as one of them is in Nevada – VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System (VASNHCS) in Reno received a one-star rating in Quality in 2016. Since the 2016 assessment, VASNHCS took steps to raise its overall rating to three stars and the Quality rating to two stars.