June 25, 2018
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today applauded the passage of a bipartisan amendment he introduced with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to release detailed information about the quality of its 133 nursing homes nationwide. The senators filed the amendment in response to a story first published by USA Today and TheBoston Globe revealing that the VA shielded data from the public about very poor quality rankings at its nursing homes, including facilities in Tuskegee and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The amendment requires the VA to submit a report to Congress within 90 days of enactment and then on an annual basis.
“Our veterans and their loved ones have given a great deal in service to our country, which is why I was so appalled by reports of very poor ratings and the unwillingness of the VA to be more transparent with this important data,” said Senator Jones. “Having every available piece of information is critical to veterans and their families as they determine where they will live and receive care, during what is unquestionably the most vulnerable stage of their lives. I am confident that this report will help the VA provide the kind of care that our men and women who served our country deserve.”
“Our veterans deserve the best care in all stages of life. For years, the VA has kept the quality data of their nursing homes a secret,” said Dr. Cassidy. “While I’m glad the VA recently took steps to address this, we need full transparency so we can hold the VA accountable and provide our veterans with the best nursing home care possible.”
The amendment (S.Amdt.3013) was included in H.R.5895, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which passed the Senate this evening. The amendment is cosponsored by Senators Brown, Daines, Donnelly, Ernst, Gillibrand, Grassley, Heller, Manchin, Nelson, Tester, Udall, and Young. Last week, Senator Jones introduced a similar amendment before withdrawing it and re-introducing an updated bipartisan version with Senator Cassidy.