BARSTOW: Investigation Reveals More Problems with Veterans Home
The troubled veterans home in Barstow received more bad news this week, when the Department of Health Services concluded that the home has neglected residents, failed to investigate reports of residents' stolen property and has "not afforded [residents] basic dignity," the Los Angeles Times reports. As a result, over the next four months, the home will lose $320,000 in Medi-Cal and Medicare funds that the federal government provides to care for about 180 of the home's residents. The state's latest report marks the third time in the last three months that the home has been disciplined. Last month, DHS fined the home a "record" $64,500 for several patient care violations and two residents' deaths. Ordered by Gov. Gray Davis (D), the most recent investigation by HCFA turned up 26 deficiencies, including inadequate care and the failure to afford veterans dignity -- state investigators reported witnessing a naked resident being escorted to the bathroom "in full view of other residents and visitors." The report cited one case in which a resident was placed on an antipsychotic medication without his or his family's consent. The report also indicated that many residents had bedsores, which were not brought to the attention of a physician. Jerry Jones, spokesperson for the state Department of Veterans Affairs, said, "We're working as hard as we can to get this fixed, and we will" (Morain/Ingram, 7/11). He added, "It's never positive when things like this happens. But we see this as an opportunity to fix things and meet the standards that are required." If federal Medi-Cal and Medicare funds are not restored, the state could decide to cover the home's operating costs. While DHS officials did not close the home, they indicated that they will continue to monitor the facility to ensure that the deficiencies are corrected (Matthews, Sacramento Bee, 7/11).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.