2017 State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Act Passes the House!
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1005 sponsored by Long Island’s Lee Zeldin on May 24th. The bill provides State Veterans Homes with more funding to provide access to adult day health care.
The bill requires the Veterans Administration (VA) to enter into provider agreements or contracts with State Veterans Homes (SVHs) to provide ADHC to veterans with severe service connected disabilities at rates above the VA’s current per diem rates. Under the bill, VA would pay for ADHC at a higher rate equal to 65% of the prevailing rate for nursing home care in that region.
ADHCC lobbied for this legislation recently at NADSA’s Advocacy Day. The bill has 50 cosponsors, 16 of whom are New York representatives. The bill will soon be before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affair in the form of S.324 sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Senators Schumer and Gillibrand both cosponsor the bill which enjoys broad bipartisan support.
In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Health on March 29, 2017, the National Association of State Veterans Homes claimed that, there are a number of State Homes across the country interested in providing medical model ADHC services; however the current basic ADHC per diem [paid to the SVH by VA] is not nearly sufficient for most State Homes to be cover the costs of this program. As a result, only three SVHs out of 153 SVHs nationwide provide ADHC programs. Those SVHs that provide ADHC programs are located in Stony Brook, New York; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and, Hilo, Hawaii. The Committee is supportive of increasing access to ADHC for veterans and recognizes that such access could allow veterans who would otherwise qualify for more costly VA-paid nursing home care the ability to stay at home longer.
On May 17, 2017, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing and heard testimony from legislators, the VA and various Veterans Service Organizations on the bill. Senator Hatch spoke on the issue and was well received by members in attendance.
A big thanks to Jean Brand of the Long Island Veterans Home, who continues to play a large role in advocating for this bill, as well as NADSA, and many disabled veterans groups, including the Wounded Warrier Project, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
New York State has Veterans Homes in Queens, Batavia, Oxford, Stony Brook and Montrose. We will be sure to keep you abreast of this bill’s progess in the US Senate.
Click here to see H.R. 1005 and its background documentation.