December 18, 2015

Manchin working to improve long-term care access for state's veterans | Clarksburg Exponent Telegram

We’ve said many times — and we know many residents of North Central West Virginia agree — that more needs to be done to provide better health care options for our veterans.

That’s why we’re encouraged that the U.S. Senate Veteran Affairs Committee has included several provisions touted by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, for consideration in upcoming legislation.

While Congress won’t take up the legislation until the new year, the committee’s decision to include the provisions is a positive step toward improving care for those who have fought for our freedom.

The legislation is designed to encourage VA medical facilities to contract with local long-term care providers, in order to increase the opportunities of keeping veterans closer to their homes, families and friends.

Extended care providers are facilities such as nursing centers, geriatric evaluation, domiciliary services, adult day health care, respite care, palliative care, hospice care and home health care, according to the legislation.

While currently allowed, the practice is discouraged because of the amount of paperwork and the reimbursement practices. The legislation will streamline and facilitate the agreements.

“Our veterans in West Virginia and across the U.S. have sacrificed so much for this country, and they deserve the highest quality long-term care available,” Manchin said. “I am pleased that my legislation with Senator Hoeven is moving forward that will get rid of the red tape in order to make sure our veterans can access the services they need close to home.

“These common-sense reforms will impact a large number of our veterans and their families who are currently in need of better long-term care.”
Hoeven said allowing veterans to remain in their communities is better for them, their families and the communities they call home.

“Family, friends and community serve as a vital support network throughout our lives, and our veterans should not be forced to choose between being near their loved ones and accessing the care they need,” Hoeven said.

“Our legislation will make more options available to our former service members who need long-term care services. That means better access to the benefits they have earned and a higher quality of life in their later years.”

We agree and applaud Manchin and Hoeven for coming up with a bipartisan solution to the issue.

Hopefully, their fellow congressmen will follow their lead, practice true statesmanship and improve the quality of service provided to our military men and women.

By:  Editorial