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Highlights

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides or pays for veterans' nursing home care in three settings: VA-operated nursing homes, privately owned nursing homes in the community from which VA purchases services, and state veterans' nursing homes. VA supports state veterans' nursing homes in a number of ways, including reimbursement for a portion of the cost of providing nursing home services to veterans, issuance of policy guidance, and oversight of their nursing home operations. GAO was asked to determine the extent to which VA collects information on veterans in state veterans' nursing homes and the type of care they receive, to assess whether VA's reimbursement policy has been applied consistently, and to identify revenue sources such homes use.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Veterans Affairs To help ensure that VA can conduct adequate strategic planning for nursing home care and strengthen its administration and oversight of the state veterans' nursing homes, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to compile and report data on the age and gender of veterans admitted to state veterans' nursing homes.
Closed - Implemented
VA now collects demographic information on state veterans' nursing home patients, including data on patient age and gender.
Department of Veterans Affairs To help ensure that VA can conduct adequate strategic planning for nursing home care and strengthen its administration and oversight of the state veterans' nursing homes, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to compile available data on the priority group status of veterans in state veterans' nursing homes, and explore with these nursing homes options for estimating the number of unenrolled veterans in each priority group.
Closed - Implemented
VA now collects priority group status information on state veterans' nursing home patients on a structured and routine basis.
Department of Veterans Affairs To help ensure that VA can conduct adequate strategic planning for nursing home care and strengthen its administration and oversight of the state veterans' nursing homes, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to clarify that state veterans' nursing homes may receive reimbursement from VA for services provided to veterans who have either wartime or peacetime military service.
Closed - Implemented
The VHA Office of Patient Care Services will coordinate the development and issuance of an information letter to VA medical centers of jurisdiction by the end of FY 2006 to clarify reimbursement policy on state veterans' nursing homes.
Department of Veterans Affairs To help ensure that VA can conduct adequate strategic planning for nursing home care and strengthen its administration and oversight of the state veterans' nursing homes, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to clarify VA policy regarding whether state veterans' nursing homes may receive reimbursement from VA for nursing home services provided to new Priority Group 8 veterans admitted to state veterans' nursing homes.
Closed - Implemented
The VHA Office of Patient Care Services will coordinate the development and issuance of an information letter to VA medical centers of jurisdiction by the end of FY 2006 to clarify reimbursement policy on state veterans' nursing homes.

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