Veterans Hospital To Send Second Closure Notice to Residents
About 20 residents of St. Thomas Anthony's Hospital are expected to receive another notice to vacate next week because the facility, which operates under a contract with the Department of Veterans' Affairs, will be closing, the Contra Costa Times reports. A 30-day notice to vacate was originally sent Nov. 2 but was later rescinded for technical reasons, owner Abdullah Kurwa said.
The decision to close the hospital was a "joint determination to avoid litigation" over a possible option for Kurwa to purchase the lot, according to Martin Harmon, a principal with the property's owner, Auburn Manor Holding. Kurwa purchased the business last year.
According to the Times, St. Thomas Anthony's officials are working with VA "to find suitable accommodations for the patients," 17 of whom are veterans. Hospital consultant Nathaniel Fripp said, "We're not just going to leave them on the street." VA spokesperson Karen Pridmore said relocations were "going smoothly," adding that patients were being transferred to the VA's Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care in Martinez or community nursing homes (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 11/11).
In other veterans' news, state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) held a meeting Tuesday to discuss veterans' loss of "rights to specialized medical care" when incarcerated, the Times reports. The California prison medical system has been repeatedly criticized for spending large amounts of money on health care but offering poor services, according to the Times.
California has the largest veteran population in the United States at 2.3 million, or 6%. The Department of Corrections estimates that about 3%, or 4,800 inmates, are veterans -- a decline from the estimated 9% four years ago. Two inmate surveys at San Quentin State Prison put the estimate at about 11%. According to the Times, veterans tend to have more health problems and require more costly care.
"No matter what they may have done, they served their country," Romero said, adding that many of their health problems may stem from their service.
Romero also criticized the department for not keeping track of which inmates are veterans and said it needs to do more to link veterans with benefits and medical care upon release (Thompson, Contra Costa Times, 11/11).