Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) and Representative Lee Zeldin [NY-1] introduced legislation (S. 324 and H.R. 1005) designed to increase the availability of adult day health care services for severely disabled veterans. If enacted, the legislation would increase the current reimbursement to state veterans homes for the provision of adult day health care services to severely disabled veterans who are eligible for, but do not receive, full-time skilled nursing home care paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), with no cost to the veteran.
Under current law, veterans who require nursing home care due to a service-connected disability or who have a VA disability rating of 70% or more can receive full-time nursing home care inside a state veterans home at no cost; however, the law does not allow those same severely disabled veterans to benefit from adult day health care, which is a less costly non-institutional alternative many prefer. S. 324 and H.R. 1005 would amend existing law to authorize VA to pay state veterans homes a per diem rate that is 65% of the per diem otherwise payable for full-time skilled nursing home care for these same severely disabled veterans.
Adult day health care, which is currently offered by only three state homes, provides comprehensive medical, nursing and personal care services combined with social activities for physically or cognitively impaired adults. Under this program, veterans are brought to the state home for 6-8 hours where they can receive any necessary medical care — including physical, occupational or speech therapy — as well as nutritional and social services. Adult day health care allows severely disabled veterans who might otherwise need skilled nursing services to receive these services several times a week while continuing to live at home.
If enacted, these bills would enable more state veterans homes across the country to offer adult day health care programs for these deserving veterans. The legislation would also provide important relief and support for their family caregivers. DAV Resolution 127 calls for legislation to provide state homes with greater flexibility in providing eligible veterans medically necessary long-term supports and services.
Please contact your elected officials and urge them to support passage of the State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 324 and H.R. 1005) during the 115th Congress.
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