Congressman Clay Higgins introduced H.R. 5693, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act. This bill would provide veterans who are no longer capable of living independently an alternative to nursing home care, in which the veteran would continue to receive the care that they need in an intimate home-like environment through VA’s Home-Based Primary Care program, and the Medical Foster Home (MFH) attendant program. Medical Foster Homes are a type of Community Residential Care by which veterans with serious chronic disabling conditions requiring nursing home level care and coordination of services are able to receive these services in a non-institutional setting.
Currently, the administrative costs for VA per veteran in the MFH program, including the cost of Home Based Primary Care, medications and supplies average less than $63 per day. However, veterans who qualify for nursing home care fully paid for by the government, must pay the full cost for room, board, and personal assistance out of their own pocket, which averages to be about $110 per day to live in a MFH.
Veterans who wish to reside in a Medical Foster Home but are unable to pay approximately $1,500 to $3,000 per month are not able to avail themselves of this benefit, so many are placed in nursing homes at much greater cost to VA. This measure would address this inequity by giving VA a three-year authority to pay for veterans, who would qualify for VA-paid nursing home care placement, so they can reside in a VA-approved MFH.
As the veteran population continues to age, the need for long-term care services will continue to grow. Home-based community programs like MFHs will enable VA to meet the needs of aging veterans in a manner closer to independent living than institutionalized care. With the passage of this bill, veterans would have the option of care that more closely aligns with their independence while maintaining their quality of life.
This bill is in accordance with DAV Resolution No. 085, which calls for legislation to improve the comprehensive program of long-term services and supports for service-connected disabled veterans regardless of their disability ratings.