December 10, 2015

Manchin-Hoeven Veterans Access Long-Term Care Legislation Passed by VA Committee, Included in VA Bill

Senators’ Bill Empowers Veterans to Use Local Long-Term Care Providers Close to Their Homes, Families

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Hoeven (R-ND) today announced that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has included provisions from two Manchin-Hoeven bills that will allow Veterans greater access to long term care (LTC) services near loved ones and friends in their home communities: the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act and the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act. Extended care providers include such facilities as nursing centers, geriatric evaluation, domiciliary services, adult day health care, respite care, palliative care, hospice care and home health care. Congress is expected to take the bill up at the beginning of the new year.

“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,” Senator 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 commonsense reforms will impact a large number of our Veterans and their families who are currently in need of better long-term care.”

“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,” said Hoeven. “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.”

Specifically, the legislation means the VA can enter into provider agreements with long-term-care facilities subject to the same rules and regulations as Medicare and Medicaid providers. This will enable Veterans to stay in local nursing homes by allowing those facilities to receive Veterans Administration reimbursement on the same basis as Medicare and Medicaid providers.

Currently, duplicative reporting requirements and regulations administered by the Office of Federal Contracting Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have discouraged long-term-care facilities from admitting VA patients, thus depriving Veterans of an opportunity to secure long term care at non-VA facilities.

By contrast, the same LTC facilities contracting with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are not subject to OFCCP regulations. The legislation would make the VA requirements for providers the same as they are for CMS, giving our former servicemen and women more options to access long-term-care services closer to their homes, families and friends.

Senators Manchin and Hoeven originally introduced the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act as a stand-alone bill in March and the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act in September.