(The Center Square) – A push to reform the oversight of Pennsylvania’s half-dozen homes for veterans would create an advisory board to improve care and watch over the dwellings.
Senate Bill 933 would give a 15-member Veterans Home Advisory Board the responsibility to provide input on quality of care concerns for the more than 1,300 Pennsylvania veterans living in the six homes across the state.
“Our veterans homes should be a place where residents will receive the care and support necessary to live a safe, active, and healthy life,” Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Chambersburg, wrote in a legislative memo. “We must remain diligent in our efforts to ensure that our veterans are treated with the dignity, honor, and respect they deserve while providing the necessary support and oversight needed to help the staff who care for our veterans.”
The board would suggest improvements for services, care, and treatment of residents, review the system’s standards and practices, and evaluate financial accountability standards, among other responsibilities.
State governments create and operate veterans homes, but the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs formally certifies the homes and conducts annual surveys of them.
During a Wednesday meeting of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committee, SB933 was advanced by a unanimous vote for first consideration.
Currently, advisory councils exist for each of the six veterans homes in the state, but no statewide advisory council exists.
The proposed council would have 13 members appointed by the governor: 10 of them would be suggested “from the local community of the veterans’ home” and three would come from current residents of the veterans’ home to include a family member or a current or former resident of the home. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate would each appoint one person.