Department of Veterans Affaris Not Offering Long-Term Care Services to Some Veterans, GAO Says
General Accounting Office officials yesterday told lawmakers that the Department of Veterans Affairs has violated provisions in the 1999 Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act requiring the department to provide long-term care services for veterans, Gannett News Service/Chicago Sun-Times reports. Under the law, the VA is required to offer services in addition to nursing homes, including adult day care, geriatric health care and home respite care. But the department has not met those requirements, GAO officials told members of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. According to the GAO, the VA published a proposed regulation last October to address the issue but has not issued a final rule. The department also has issued a policy directive that requires VA hospitals to provide long-term care services, but a GAO survey of 139 VA hospitals found that only 99 provided adult day care, 74 provided geriatric health care and 29 provided home respite care, Cynthia Bascetta, director of veterans health care issues for the GAO, said. Robert Roswell, undersecretary for health at the VA, said that the department plans to publish a final regulation next week to address the issue. The rule would take effect 30 days after publication, he said. Roswell also said that the VA has drafted a proposal to move the department into compliance with the law by 2004 (Camire, Gannett News/Chicago Sun-Times, 4/26).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.