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Audit: Veterans’ homes didn’t report deaths, screen staff

November 16, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An audit of the four state-operated veterans’ homes in Tennessee found failures to report deaths of residents and conduct background checks on employees, news outlets reported Thursday citing a state Comptroller’s performance review over the State Veterans’ Homes Board.

The audit the Comptroller completed in October found several violations. It examined the homes in Murfreesboro, Humboldt, Knoxville and Clarksville from 2015 through June 2018.

State law requires the homes to submit monthly death reports to county health departments. The audit found staff did not accurately document or report 20 of the 60 deaths during the review’s time period.

The audit also discovered that the homes’ management failed to do all required staff screening, which included checking criminal backgrounds, health, references, abuse and sex offender registries, as well as drug testing.

The Comptroller’s report said a high employee turnover rate overwhelmed human resources personnel and was a potential reason for the improper processing. Some of its other findings included nurses not documenting that they had distributed all doses of medicine to residents as prescribed and homes not having comprehensive policies for addressing and monitoring complaints from residents and employees.

The Murfreesboro, Humboldt and Knoxville sites got two-star ratings during various parts of the review, with Murfreesboro and Humboldt consistently performing poorer than the other two locations, the report said. The Clarksville home was rated five stars between September 2017 and May 2018.

The Tennessean quotes State Veterans’ Homes Executive Director Ed Harries as saying the latest ratings of overall quality of care have shown improvement. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rated the Clarksville and Knoxville homes five stars, and Murfreesboro and Humboldt homes four stars, he said.

Staff had been unaware of the deadlines to report deaths and a new policy has been educating all administrators since Nov. 1, Harries said.

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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