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The American Legion to State Veterans Homes: ‘Obey the Law, Cooperate with VA’

(INDIANAPOLIS, February 25, 2021) – Alarmed by a report that 35 state veterans homes across the country have not shared coronavirus data with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the head of the nation’s largest veterans organization called on the facilities to “obey the law.”

“A federal law requires VA to post information about coronavirus cases and deaths that occur at state-run veteran homes,” National Commander of The American Legion James W. “Bill” Oxford explained. “Stars & Stripes reported that 35 of 158 state veterans homes have not provided the data that VA requires. This is completely unacceptable. In June, I spoke about the tragic deaths that occurred at the state home in Holyoke, Massachusetts due to the comingling of coronavirus patients with asymptomatic residents and personal protective equipment shortages. VA doesn’t run state homes but the department plays an important oversight role.  In order to assist these facilities and prevent similar tragedies, these state facilities must be transparent and share the data with VA and the public. Veterans and their loved ones need assurances that their homes have the resources that are needed and are following appropriate protocols to keep all  residents safe.”

Oxford added that 123 state veterans homes are reporting the information to VA but that it is not good enough. “A veteran is a veteran no matter where he or she lives,” he said. “The American Legion believes every facility that claims to serve veterans must be top-notch. We expect full compliance with the law.”