WASHINGTON – Responding to more allegations of poor health care for veterans, the Pentagon said Thursday it is investigating conditions at a historic retirement home in the capital.
The Defense Department sent a medical team on an inspection visit Wednesday after Defense Secretary Robert Gates received a letter from the Government Accountability Office reporting allegations of a rising death rate and rooms spattered with blood, urine and feces at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Northwest Washington.
"We are going to take every complaint and we are going to address it," said Maj. Stewart T. Upton, a Pentagon spokesman.
The GAO letter comes a month after revelations of poor living conditions and bureaucratic delays at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a scandal that has forced the resignations of three high-level Army officials.
That controversy also has prompted a review of the vast network of clinics and hospitals run by the Veterans Affairs — found in a separate probe this week to be beset by maintenance problems such as mold, leaking roofs and even a colony of bats.
The retirement home, formerly known as the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home, was opened in 1851 for wounded and disabled war veterans and is home to more than 1,000 retirees.