Hoeven Pays Tribune to Veterans, Families at American Legion Annual Meeting

Senator Outlines Efforts to Ensure Veterans Can Access Health Care, Long Term Care Closer to Home

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven will deliver welcome remarks this evening at the North Dakota American Legion’s annual meeting to honor the service of the state’s veterans, military families and communities. Hoeven outlined his work to help ensure that North Dakota veterans can access timely health care and long term care services closer to their homes and communities.

“The North Dakota American Legion plays an important role in our state as they work to improve our communities and advocate on behalf of North Dakota’s veterans and military families,” said Hoeven. “We appreciate the tremendous work of the American Legion and its members to ensure that we uphold our commitment to care for our veterans and their families. We worked to pass legislation in the Senate that will ensure that the men and women who served our nation are receiving the quality, timely health care services they were promised. We’re also working to ensure that veterans in North Dakota can access health care services in their local communities, closer to their friends and families. Our actions should reflect the tremendous gratitude we feel for the service and sacrifices of our nation’s veterans.”

Hoeven has been working to address the problems with the VA health care system nationally. In early June, Hoeven pushed to pass bipartisan legislation to reform the VA and ensure that veterans receive timely care, in part by allowing veterans to receive care from the doctor or provider of their choice if the VA cannot schedule an appointment for a veteran within 14 days or the veteran resides more than 40 miles from any VA medical center (VAMC) or Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC). The bill is now being conferenced with House-passed legislation.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Senator Hoeven has also worked to secure adequate funding for the VA, which has increased by 60 percent since Fiscal Year 2009.

In addition to his work to ensure veterans can access health care closer to home, Hoeven has also been working to expand access to long term care so veterans can stay closer to their homes and communities.

Last week, Hoeven led a bipartisan group of 43 senators in pressing Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Sloan Gibson to finalize a rule that would make it easier for long term care (LTC) providers like nursing homes, hospices and respite care facilities to serve veterans. Currently, the VA is authorized to enter into agreements with long term providers, but onerous federal reporting requirements have prevented many LTC facilities from admitting VA patients. In North Dakota, only 15 out of 80 nursing homes 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. The proposed rule, issued in February 2013, would make the VA reporting requirements for providers the same as they are for CMS, which means more long term care facilities can serve veterans. That would give veterans more options to get services closer to home, family and friends.

On Monday, Hoeven will be in Dickinson to host a roundtable with area veterans.