VA Nursing Homes Superior to Private-Sector

Extending an “unprecedented 18-month record of transparency disclosures,” the VA released its annual nursing home ratings for the first time.


Data from a VA report on its nursing homesshow that the VA’s 132 community living centers compare closely with 15,487 private-sector nursing homes even though the VA on average cares for sicker patients, with a higher proportion of conditions such as spinal cord injury, PTSD, and combat injury: 25.6% of VA nursing homes rated 5 stars (the highest rating), as did 28.7% of private-sector facilities.

The VA report notes that VA nursing homes do not refuse service to any eligible veteran. The fact that they often house residents with more complex medical needs than private-sector facilities will accept “makes achieving good quality ratings more challenging,” the VA says. VA nursing homes at times rate lower than private-sector facilities on specific metrics such as pain and type of treatment.

But the VA has a significantly lower percentage of 1-star (lowest rated) facilities. Moreover, 60 of the VA’s nursing homes improved their quality score in the past year. The report also says VA nursing homes have a higher staff-to-resident ratio than private-sector facilities, meaning residents in VA facilities get more direct attention

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