State VA Secretary Interested in Reopening Skilled Nursing Center at Barstow Veterans Home
California Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Thomas Johnson on Friday at a meeting of the California Veterans Board said that he plans to reopen the 112-bed skilled nursing facility at the Barstow Veterans Home, which was closed in October, the Desert Dispatch reports (Morrison, Desert Dispatch, 3/6). In March 2003, VA announced plans to relocate the 94 residents in the home's skilled nursing ward because of repeated violations of federal standards and state fines (California Healthline, 4/7/03). The facility served residents who required 24-hour care. The other facilities of the home remained open. "I'm committed to making this happen, but the challenge is great," Johnson said, adding, "The key is finding an administrator for Barstow who has the skill set and vision to bring this forward." Johnson has met with Department of Health Services officials to discuss different strategies for reopening the skilled nursing center but did not say when it would occur, according to the Desert Dispatch. Possible strategies including privatizing the skilled nursing center -- which is unlikely because of state laws and budget concerns -- and incrementally re-opening the center "20 or 30 beds at a time," Johnson said (Desert Dispatch, 3/6).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.