Audit & federal inspection find problems at vets’ home
SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - A recent state audit of the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home is raising questions and concerns about the care residents are receiving and the state’s ability to provide oversight.
The home was opened at its Sparks location in 2019. Funded by the state, it is operated under contract by Avalon Health Care Group and the state audit apparently left officials wondering about its financial health. “Information not provided to the state when it was asked for, numbers not adding up,” cited State Treasurer Zach Conine, “and, of course, that’s the purpose of an internal audit. So, we can find things like that and fix them.”
Conine is a member of the state’s Executive Branch Financial Audit Committee. He says the lack of information in the audit was “awful,” unlike anything he’d ever seen. “A vendor who’s not being transparent with the state is always a concern and when that lack of transparency means our veterans may not be getting what they have fought for and deserve, that’s where our office can start to lean in.”
And here the news is also not encouraging. The most recent federal inspection cited several problems, 37 different citations, five times the national average. That adds up to a two out of five-star rating.
The veteran’s home in southern Nevada has a five-star rating. Significantly, unlike its northern counterpart, it is operated by the state, not a private contractor. “At that particular time they didn’t think they had the capacity to run that home internally,” says Conine, who was not in office at the time. “I think we now know that we can run our own home effectively because we’re doing it in southern Nevada. We know how to do it because we’re doing it. So I think it’s important to look at it to see if that’s an option for our northern home.”
Conine notes the southern Nevada home is older and has had more time to achieve its status, but the aim here is the same level of care.
“Our message to the public is simple. That we are going to keep pushing and making sure that this vendor or some other vendor or the state itself will make good on the promises we all made to veterans.”
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