Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, cosponsored an amendment to the FY 2019 Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit an annual report on the quality ratings of each VA-run nursing home. The amendment follows a Democrat & Chronicle report that highlighted the VA’s use of an internal ratings system to measure the quality of each of the 133 nursing homes operated by the Department. The VA does not allow the public or the veterans community to see these ratings. In New York, the report showed very poor ratings for the Canandaigua Living Center; the living centers in Batavia and Bath, Steuben County; and the Buffalo Community Living Center.
“Our veterans deserve the absolute best care from the VA, but I am deeply troubled that the VA is withholding information from the public about the quality of its nursing homes,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m proud to support this amendment to ensure that veterans have full access to the information they need about the quality of the VA’s nursing home facilities. Our veterans and their families should be able to feel confident when enrolling in nursing home care, and I will do everything in my power to make sure they are receiving the quality of care that is worthy of their sacrifice.”
This amendment was sponsored by Senators Doug Jones (D-AL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). The amendment was also cosponsored by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The amendment would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit an annual report to Congress outlining the rating assigned by the VA to each of its nursing home facilities with respect to quality of care, including all metrics and criteria used in determining such ratings.