Hoeven's Veterans Access to Long-Term Care Legislation Passes Veterans Affairs Committee

Senator’s Bill Empowers Veterans to Use Local Long-Term Care Providers Close to Their Homes, Families

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Veterans Affairs Committee has included provisions from two Hoeven bills that will allow veterans greater access to long term care (LTC) services near loved ones and friends in their home communities: the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act and the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act. Extended care providers include such facilities as nursing centers, geriatric evaluation, domiciliary services, adult day health care, respite care, palliative care, hospice care and home health care. Congress is expected to take the bill up at the beginning of the new year.

“Family, friends and community serve as a vital support network throughout our lives, and our veterans should not be forced to choose between being near their loved ones and accessing the care they need,” said Hoeven. “Our legislation will make more options available to our former service members who need long-term care services. That means better access to the benefits they have earned and a higher quality of life in their later years.”

Specifically, the legislation means the VA can enter into provider agreements with long-term-care facilities subject to the same rules and regulations as Medicare and Medicaid providers. This will enable veterans to stay in local nursing homes by allowing those facilities to receive Veterans Administration reimbursement on the same basis as Medicare and Medicaid providers.

Currently, duplicative reporting requirements and regulations administered by the Office of Federal Contracting Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have discouraged long-term-care facilities from admitting VA patients, thus depriving veterans of an opportunity to secure long term care at non-VA facilities. As a result, only 15 out of 80 nursing homes in North Dakota currently contract with the VA.

By contrast, the same LTC facilities contracting with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are not subject to OFCCP regulations. The Hoeven legislation would make the VA requirements for providers the same as they are for CMS, giving our former servicemen and women more options to access long-term-care services closer to their homes, families and friends.

Hoeven originally introduced the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act as a stand-alone bill in March with Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act in September, also with Manchin.