The Inspector General checked on VA's coronavirus response. Here's what it found.
MARCH 26, 2020
A watchdog agency checked in on the Department of Veterans Affairs' response to COVID-19, including screening processes and pandemic readiness, and they found some areas lacking.
VA also began preparing for its fourth mission -- to serve as a last line of defense for Americans, not just veterans, during health crises.
About a week after VA began screening for the virus, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigators launched an inquiry to evaluate how VA was performing, including unannounced visits to hospitals, clinics and nursing homes -- while working to ensure those visits wouldn't put veterans or staff at risk.
At the 58 medical centers OIG investigators visited, they found:
About 71 percent had adequate screening processes in place, while about 28 percent had room for improvement and one -- the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System -- had inadequate screening for potential infection because staff was not asking all of the required screening questions.
At the 121 community outpatient clinics OIG investigators visited, they found:
121 (97 percent) had screening in place, though four did not have any screening and visitors were asked no COVID-19 questions. At the 54 VA nursing homes investigators visited after VA announced a no-visitors policy, they found:
Nine nursing homes were still allowing visitors.
Almost all of the 237 medical facilities investigators visited were collecting COVID-19 specimens for testing, but none of those facilities could process them on site. Some referred those who needed testing to county or state health departments.
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