BARSTOW: Veterans Home Slapped with Third Fine in Three Months
State officials Monday fined the beleaguered California Veterans Home of Barstow for the third time in three months for patient care violations, the Los Angeles Times reports. The $10,000 fine stems from the May 30 death of a diabetic resident. A state health official said that the fine was the "maximum allowed for cases in which the quality of patient care is an issue but cannot be identified as the direct cause of death" (Ingram, 8/1). Responding to an anonymous tip, health officials discovered that nursing assistants had failed to record the resident's routine test results and neglected to notify a physician when his health began to worsen. According to the citation, the violations "presented either imminent danger that death or serious harm would result or a substantial probability that death or serious harm would result." John Hagerty, a health department spokesperson, said, "We don't view this as an isolated case ... A lot of it we see as a continuation of ongoing problems -- poor record-keeping and (staffing issues)" (Carter, AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/1). For more than a year, the state-operated Barstow facility has struggled to retain state and federal funding and its license. In June, the home received an unprecedented $64,500 fine for various violations stemming from the deaths of two additional residents. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs then cut off $300,000 in monthly payments because of the facility's inability to comply with management and patient care standards. HCFA followed suit in July, denying the facility $320,000 in Medicare payments (Ingram, 8/1).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.