BARSTOW: Feds Nix Funding for Veterans Home
In move that surprised California officials, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs axed about $300,000 in monthly payments to the beleaguered Veterans Home in Barstow, citing "failure to meet patient care and management standards," the Los Angeles Times reports. According to a letter sent by U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo West, the decision to halt payments came after investigators concluded that "residents were at risk and were receiving substandard care." VA spokesperson Jim Holley said, "They're not in compliance with VA standards. We had to withdraw ... (the) payments by law, that was our only option." The state will continue to fund the Barstow home, however, and VA officials said that the majority of the home's support from Medicare and Medi-Cal will remain unaffected. "It is our goal to make this impact as small as possible [and] to get this thing corrected ... so that payments can be resumed," Jerry Jones, spokesperson for the California Department of Veterans Affairs, said. The move stunned state officials, who had already filed a corrective plan to meet federal standards, and also dealt a blow to Gov. Gray Davis' (D) efforts to keep the home open. But federal officials maintain that the state has been aware of the problems since Dec. 1997, when federal investigators conducted the first of four inspections of the facility. The suspended funds account for about $3.4 million of the home's annual $20-million budget (Ingram/Tamaki, 6/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.