Working to Improve Health Care for Our Veterans

Senator John Hoeven has worked extensively to improve veterans’ access to health care and extended care in their local communities. Hoeven and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act (S.2000), legislation that allows the VA to enter into provider agreements with qualified health care and extended care facilities. The bill enables more local providers to accept veteran patients without having to comply with burdensome and often times expensive federal contracting requirements. 

Currently, the VA is authorized to enter into federal contracts with non-VA providers to provide services to veterans in rural areas, but onerous reporting requirements and regulations administered by the Office of Federal Contracting Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have prevented many long term care (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) are not subject to OFCCP regulations. The Senators legislation would make the VA requirements for providers the same as they are for CMS. 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 strong support for the legislation. He met regularly with VA Secretary Robert McDonnell, who has noted that it is a top priority for the VA to get provider agreements enacted into law.

Additionally, the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the nation’s largest association of long term and post-acute care providers, and the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, which is an affiliate of the AHCA, worked hand in hand with Senator Hoeven on crafting this important legislation.