Congress Debates HCBS Expansion, Improvement for Veterans

The Elizabeth Dole HCBS for Veterans and Caregivers ActH.R. 6823 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month and would work to improve home and community-based services (HCBS) services for patients, their families, and their caregivers.

NAHC previously reported on it here.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Expand access to HCBS services for veterans living in US territories and to Native veterans enrolled in IHS or tribal health program.
  • Raise the cap on how much the VA can pay for the cost of home care from 65% of the cost of nursing home care to 100%.
  • Coordinate expanded VA home care programs with other VA programs.
  • Establish a pilot project to address home health aide shortages.
  • Providing respite care to caregivers of veterans enrolled in home care programs.
  • Establish a “one stop shop” webpage to centralize information for families and veterans on programs available.
  • Require the VA to provide a coordinated handoff for veterans and caregivers denied or discharged from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers into any other home care program they may be eligible for.

Following the introduction of the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on the bill, and several other pieces of legislation designed to improve the Veterans Administration (VA) and health care delivery for veterans.

In written testimony, Dr. Julianne Flynn, Acting Assistant Under Secretary for Health Care within the Veterans Health Administration offered support for numerous provisions included in H.R. 6823, in particular the increase of to 100% of what the VA can pay for home based on the cost of nursing home care. Likewise, the legislation received favorable comments from other members of the panel as well as testifying witnesses from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

NAHC supports this legislation as it will make much needed improvements for veterans receiving home care through increased accessibility, improved coordination, and caregiver support.