BARSTOW: Veterans Home Under Investigation Again
State health department investigators and the inspector general of the Veterans Affairs Department staged a surprise investigation Monday of the California Veterans Home at Barstow after questions surrounding a resident's cause of death surfaced, the Los Angeles Times reports. Veteran Affairs officials said that World War II veteran Paul Stevens died of a heart attack while eating, but the San Bernardino County coroner's office determined that Stevens had choked to death on his food. The conflicting coroner's conclusion could be "a sign of inadequate care," the Times reports. The facility came very close earlier this year to losing its accreditation due to poor record management and other violations, but was deemed in compliance recently after taking corrective actions. However, state DHS Director Diana Bonta said this latest discovery prompted "another full-scale investigation aimed at getting at 'systemic' problems." According to Bonta, at least four complaints have been filed against the veterans home since February. The new investigation, she said, will focus on finding out "the circumstance of the death." Veterans Affairs officials said heart attacks are common among aging veterans and argued that "[t]here was no autopsy, and the deputy coroner is not an M.D." Bonta said she "won't know until after the full survey ... what the [accreditation] status of the facility will be" (Ingram, 5/11).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.