VETERANS HOME: Barstow Facility Faces Federal Sanctions
The Veterans Home of California in Barstow will not receive Medicare payments for patients admitted to the facility after Oct. 21, according to a letter from HHS. One of only two veterans' homes in the state, the Barstow facility has until Feb. 23 to "bring its health care practices up to federal standards" or HHS will terminate its Medicare contract. The HCFA sanctions come one month after state health inspectors issued a report indicating that the facility "failed to meet state standards in two of the past three years." After the report was released, three of the facility's officials, including the home's top physician, have been suspended and home administrator Robert Gray has been forced to resign. State inspectors recommended that the facility be fined $2,000 per day until it meets state regulations. HCFA's Director of Long Term Financing Stan Marcisz called the sanction an "incentive" rather than a penalty. He said, "It's meant to get their attention. ... We don't pay for care at a substandard level." The state Department of Veterans Affairs is appealing both the sanctions and the report findings (Carter, AP/Contra Costa Times, 10/27).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.