Hoeven Hosts Veterans Long-Term Care Roundtable

Senator Continues Work to Improve Veterans' Access to Care Close to Home

MANDAN, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today led a veterans roundtable to outline the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act and his work to improve veterans’ access to nursing homes and extended care facilities in their local communities. The roundtable included veterans, representatives from local veteran service organizations, Veterans Service Officers (VSO) and long-term care (LTC) providers and administrators.

Senators Hoeven and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) recently introduced the bipartisan Veterans Access to Extended Care Act, which allows the VA to enter into provider agreements with extended care facilities, enabling nursing homes to receive Veterans Administration (VA) reimbursement without burdensome federal reporting requirements.

“We’re removing obstacles to make it easier for our veterans to receive care at local nursing homes so they can be close to their family and friends,” said Hoeven. “Our legislation cuts through the red tape and makes it easier for long-term care facilities to receive reimbursement from the VA. This is important to our veterans and their families, and will help us to better keep our nation’s promise to care for the men and women who have served our country.”

Currently, the VA is authorized to enter into contracts with extended care providers to provide services to veterans, but onerous federal reporting requirements have prevented many LTC facilities from admitting VA patients. As a result, only 15 out of 80 nursing homes in North Dakota currently contract with the VA.

In contrast, the same LTC facilities contracting with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have no such reporting requirements. They need only comply with federal hiring practices. In February 2013, the VA issued a proposed rule, RIN 2900-A015, which would make the VA reporting requirements for providers the same as they are for CMS. The Veterans Access to Extended Care Act gives the VA the authority it needs to make this change permanent and enter into provider agreements with extended care service providers, such as nursing centers, geriatric evaluation, domiciliary services, adult day health care, respite care, palliative care, hospice care and home health care. This gives our former servicemen and women more options to access LTC services closer to their homes, families and friends.

Hoeven has worked to garner the necessary support for the legislation. He met with VA Secretary Robert McDonnell in March to secure his support for the legislation. Additionally, the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the nation’s largest association of long-term and post-acute care providers, strongly endorses the bill. The North Dakota Long Term Care Association is an affiliate of the AHCA. 

“The North Dakota Long Term Care Association and its provider members applaud Senator Hoeven for his leadership in introducing the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act. This important legislation ensures that America’s heroes have wider access to the quality health care they deserve with our long term care providers in North Dakota and across the country through VA provider agreements. Through this important legislation, men and women, who selflessly served our country, will have access to extended care services from providers who are closer to their homes and community support structures,” said Shelly Peterson, President of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association.

Hoeven is also continuing his efforts to ensure that veterans can access health care close to home. He is cosponsoring the Veterans Access to Community Care Act, legislation that would allow veterans to seek local health care providers in their communities if they are unable to receive needed health care services from a VA facility, including a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), within 40 miles of their homes.