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Highlights

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates a $2.3 billion nursing home program that provides or pays for veterans' care in three settings: VA nursing homes, community nursing homes, and state veterans' nursing homes. The Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act (Millennium Act) of 1999 and VA policy require that VA provide nursing home care to veterans with a certain eligibility. Congress has expressed a need for additional data to conduct oversight of VA's nursing home program. Specifically, for all VA nursing home settings in fiscal year 2003, GAO was asked to report on (1) VA spending to provide or pay for nursing home care, (2) VA workload provided or paid for, (3) the percentage of nursing home care that is long and short stay, and (4) the percentage of veterans receiving care required by the Millennium Act or VA policy.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Veterans Affairs To help ensure that VA can provide adequate program monitoring and planning for nursing home care and to improve the completeness of data needed for congressional oversight, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to, for community nursing homes and state veterans' nursing homes, collect and report data on the number of veterans who have long and short stays, comparable to data VA currently collects on VA nursing homes.
Closed - Implemented
At the time of our recommendation in November 2004, VA stated that it concurred with the recommendation in principle, but did not specify plans to collect such data. In July 2008, VA reported that community nursing home length of stay are reviewed annually and on as needed basis by the Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care. VA also reported that the State Home Per Diem Program Office receives a monthly report on veterans' length of stay in state veterans' nursing homes.
Department of Veterans Affairs To help ensure that VA can provide adequate program monitoring and planning for nursing home care and to improve the completeness of data needed for congressional oversight, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to, for community nursing homes and state veterans' nursing homes, collect and report data on the number of veterans in these homes that VA is required to serve based on the requirements of the Millennium Act or VA's policy on nursing home eligibility, comparable to data VA currently collects on VA nursing homes.
Closed - Implemented
At the time of our recommendation in November 2004, VA stated that it concurred with the recommendation in principle, but did not specify plans to collect such data. In July 2008, VA reported that community nursing home eligibility data are collected and reviewed annually and on an as-needed basis by the Program Manager for Community-Based Care, Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care in light of the requirements of the Millennium Act and VA Nursing Home Eligibility Policy. VA also noted that as of May, 2008, the State Home Per Diem Program is receiving data on state veterans' nursing home veterans' priority group.

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