Gaps in federal oversight add to virus woes at vets homes
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)WASHINGTON Big gaps in federal oversight of long-term care facilities for aging veterans may have contributed to rampant coronavirus infections and more than 200 deaths at state-run homes, according to a congressional watchdog agency. Many of the COVID-19 outbreaks happened after asymptomatic staff unknowingly brought in the virus from hot-spot communities, underscoring the need for robust testing, said Melissa Jackson, president of the National Association of State Veterans Homes. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., who heads the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on health, called the disparities unacceptable. But it's not known how many of these happened at state-run veterans homes because not all of them are required to report coronavirus infection and death rates to VA. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides oversight for about two-thirds of state-run veterans homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments.
Nearly 1 in 4 VA employees report sex harassment, audit says
The VA is not the same VA as four years ago, insisted acting VA deputy secretary Pam Powers, pointing to increased outreach to women and improved trust ratings in the VA from employees and patients alike according to internal polling. His effort seeks to reinforce a call by top Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee last week for a faster timeline. About 1 in 3 VA employees said they witnessed an act of sexual harassment. Overall, an estimated 26% of female and 14% of male VA employees experienced harassment during the two-year period. A study released by the VA last year found 1 in 4 women veterans using VA health care reported inappropriate comments by male veterans on VA grounds, raising concerns they may delay or miss their treatments.