State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Audit of state veterans' homes finds long waiting lists, admission discrepancies

Written by Katie Meyer | Jul 7, 2016 9:31 PM

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The auditor general says the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs is currently complying with all the audit's recommendations. (Photo by Katie Meyer, WITF)

(Harrisburg) -- An audit of Pennsylvania's veteran affairs program has turned up preventable admissions delays in state homes for elderly vets.

Over nearly two years, investigators found admission to the six veterans' homes could range anywhere from one day, to 443 days, depending on location.

The homes are located in Chester, Lackawanna, Erie, Allegheny, Philadelphia, and Blair counties.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said such a discrepancy means some veterans are waiting more than a year for a bed, when they could be accommodated much sooner.

"This is where we need to have some common sense in Pennsylvania," he said. "If you have a huge waiting list in one part of the state, and you have open beds in the other part of the state, the right hand needs to know what the left hand's doing to communicate that to try to get as many of the eligible veterans into those homes."

The audit also recommended that veterans be given more flexibility to accept their placements.

The standing policy gave veterans only 10 days to move in, otherwise they could lose their spot.

DePasquale called that policy "bad for veterans," and said it needs to be revised.

He said while the short-term errors found in the audit were readily corrected, the department needs more oversight to make sure problems don't reoccur.

He also said the agency is currently complying with all recommendations.

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