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The VA allows eligible veterans to receive care from community providers when they face challenges accessing care at VA medical facilities. The VA is still responsible for ensuring that these community providers are qualified and competent.
The Department of Veterans Affairs partners with nongovernmental groups, like non-profits or universities, through formal agreements aimed at making veterans aware of available suicide prevention programs and mental health services.
VA provides care to about 9,000 veterans in 134 VA-operated nursing homes, called "community living centers." For oversight, VA conducts unannounced inspections and tracks quality measures (such as the percentage of residents with a fall) and nurse staffing levels.
We examined how VA handles complaints about the quality of care at VA nursing homes, called community living centers. Residents can lodge complaints with staff or patient advocates at associated VA medical centers.
The Department of Veterans Affairs operates one of the largest health care systems in the country. It owned 5,625 buildings and leased 1,690 more in FY 2020 to help provide this care. VA has a growing maintenance backlog and estimated that it needs $22.6 billion to correct facility deficiencies.
Veterans who have been arrested and jailed are at an increased risk of homelessness and mental health conditions. The VA created the Veterans Justice Outreach program, which served over 30,000 veterans in FY 2020, to address these issues.
During the pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued guidance on limiting entry to its community living centers, testing residents and staff for COVID-19, and training staff for a surge in cases.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers education benefits, like tuition coverage, to veterans through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The Veteran Readiness & Employment program, which helps veterans with disabilities re-enter the workforce, can also provide education benefits.