Sadness and death: Inside the VA’s state nursing-home disaster

…from Politico

[ Editor’s Note: Color me not surprised at this horror story. Right from the start I spotted that the states wanted local control over these VA nusing homes so the contracting could be parceled out to the politically connected.

The Feds just loved having an organizational structure where it was easier to pass the responsibility buck to when problems arose. As Covid swept through them quickly in the beginning, it revealed a disaster that had just been waiting to happen.

This is Jacksonville, Florida yesterday, two elderly patients in a DeSantis ‘pop up’ Regeneron clinc, no beds, no guerneys, no Drs. or nurses…from an MSNBC screen grab.

And because our disgraced former president Trump told us the virus ‘would just go away someday’, despite his having told Bob Woodward that he knew it was passed by breath droplets, no one wanting to accept any responsibility for the severity of disaster due to lack of preparation and clear lines of repsonsibility. Imagine that.

At the time the VA nursing home sitatuation was viewed as a worst case scenario for Covid. None of us could have foreseen what awaited us down the road where once vaccinates were finally available that a culture war would erupt as to their long term consequences.

Mask shortages and limited vaccine supplies have been replaced my mask bannings being imposed and vaccinations refused for a whole list of concerns, including their only being under an emergency use license, and the potential long term health risks.

The good news is that as hospital ICU beds fill up and the death notices hit the local newspapers, vaccines are increasing, with a one claim of a million being done one day last week. Or maybe it was Trump telling people at his Alabama rally to get the jab, were boos we heard in response… Jim W. Dean ]

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First published … August 24, 2021

For years, the Veterans Affairs has spent upwards of $1 billion a year funding state-run nursing homes for veterans, while requiring only a single annual safety inspection, performed by an outside contractor.

Just months before the pandemic bore down, the GAO in 2019 warned that the VA inspections lack teeth, merely making recommendations about some deficiencies instead of meticulously documenting them and requiring that they be addressed.

…Residents in state VA homes often died in large clusters: 110 at a 126-bed home in western New York, 62 (plus two staff) in one at the southern tip of Maryland, 47 at a complex in rural Wisconsin, 44 near the shore of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. More than half the deaths occurred well into the pandemic, after testing, protective gear and other resources became more available

“For a long time the state veterans homes were neglected,” said Linda Schwartz, a former Air Force flight nurse who ran veterans affairs for the state of Connecticut and served as a high-level VA official in the Obama administration. “It’s been terrible — and in some ways shameful — that veterans were in this situation,” added Schwartz, who monitored the pandemic as part of a task force with the Vietnam Veterans of America.

You can read the full Politico story here.

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Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. Read Full Complete Bio >>>

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Tax the profits of capital gains off defense contractors at 95% to pay for facilities to care for the disabled vets. Here in Western NY, there is talk of building a 1.5 billion dollar football stadium. When the game starts, they usually honor veterans as a show to boost loyalty to the sport. During the season there are 9 home games lasting approx 3 hours each. That is 1.5 billion for around 30 hours of use. For entertainment. Let Pegula pay for his own stadium, and also force him to build state of the art facilities for veterans. Otherwise, issue a public statement denouncing the inauthenticity of the NFL and defense contractors. Their cheers and flyovers are disgusting, when down the road, the vets in death houses are ignored.