WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) – members on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) – recently introduced the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act. This legislation would expand community-based services for aging veterans as well as improve VA support for veterans and caregivers of all ages.
The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act exemplifies Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s passion for supporting veterans and their caregivers by expanding access to home and community-based care programs for veterans, increasing support for noninstitutional care, assessing VA’s caregiver and long-term care programs and more.
“Senator Elizabeth Dole represents the millions of caregivers who have worked behind the scenes to care for our nation’s veterans who are impacted by advanced age or catastrophic injuries,” said Sen. Moran, ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Caregivers help veterans maintain their independence and stay in their own homes in their own communities for as long as possible as they age. The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act expands access to home and community-based services. It is fitting we name this legislation after an honorary Kansan – Elizabeth Dole – who has worked as an advocate to honor and recognize our veterans and their caregivers.”
“In rural states like Montana where folks often have to travel great distances for health care services, making sure our aging and disabled veterans have access to convenient and quality long-term care options is critical,” said Sen. Tester, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues in our bipartisan effort to provide veterans the flexibility to be cared for by their loved ones or providers of their choosing, from the comfort of their own home.”
“Caregivers provide invaluable support to veterans – helping to ensure that they can maintain their independence and stay active in our communities,” said Sen. Hassan. “The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act helps recognize the vital work of caregivers, while also expanding home and community-based services for our country’s veterans. This bipartisan bill is an important way to support veterans so that they can live healthy and dignified lives and recognizes the extraordinary sacrifices that they and their families have made to keep us safe, secure, and free.”
“Senators Moran and Tester are longstanding champions of military caregivers and have brought caregiver issues to the forefront as leaders of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee over the last decade,” said Steve Schwab, CEO, Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “We are heartened by the 118th Congress's dedication to this critical population and continue to urge Congress to provide caregivers with the support and relief they deserve."
Sens. Moran, Tester and Hassan also introduced this legislation in the 117th Congress.
The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act:
- Increases the expenditure cap for noninstitutional care alternative programs from 65 percent to 100 percent of nursing home care costs;
- Expands access to home and community-based alternative care programs to veterans at all VA medical facilities, as well as to veterans living in U.S. territories and Native veterans enrolled in IHS or tribal health programs;
- Requires the creation of a centralized website to disseminate information and resources related to home and community-based programs and help veterans and caregivers determine their eligibility;
- Requires VA to review staffing and resource needs, accessibility, and other aspects of the Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care and Caregiver Support Program Office to make certain they are appropriately serving veterans and caregivers;
- Creates a pilot program to provide home health aide services for veterans that reside in communities with a shortage of home health aides; and
- Requires VA to establish a warm handoff process for veterans and caregivers who are discharged from or ineligible for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
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