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Modern Healthcare: How the VA Is Making Strides to Improve State Veteran Home Inspections

Modern Healthcare: How the VA Is Making Strides to Improve State Veteran Home Inspections

  • August 22, 2020
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The Veterans Affairs Department deserves credit for two recent moves to improve the lives of veterans in its facilities and in state veterans homes.

First, the VA’s plan to gradually and safely reintroduce volunteers to its healthcare facilities is an important and timely step. Volunteers serve as some of the most critical eyes and ears in a facility. Many volunteers have established personal relationships with individuals they help care for, and thus serve as a vital link in the communication chain with the VA and other oversight agencies.

Second, I’m glad to see the VA is giving serious consideration to recent recommendations made by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which called on the VA to strengthen its oversight of inspections conducted in state veterans homes. The issue was the subject of a congressional hearing last month.

The GAO’s feedback was helpful, because the VA deserves the very best from its healthcare facility-inspection contractors. After all, the inspector should serve the VA, not the facility. The inspector should never identify a deficiency but then collaboratively allow the facility to fix the issue during the inspection. Without a rigorous inspection process that creates a paper trail of deficiencies, a facility could lapse back into negative practices in between site visits and never fully address underlying problems.

Leah Heimbach
President and owner
Healthcare Management Solutions

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