Congressman Don Young Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Expand Access to Care for Veterans, Protect State Veterans Homes
Washington, August 20, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young, Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02), and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01) have introduced the bipartisan State Veterans Homes Domiciliary Care Flexibility Act. This legislation would allow more veterans, particularly those with early onset dementia, to receive affordable residential care at veterans homes across the country. Young, Golden, and Pingree’s bill would remove newly enforced VA eligibility requirements that have caused some veterans to seek residential care outside the Veterans Homes system or to pay more from their own pockets.
"Alaska is home to thousands of veterans who risked their lives on behalf of our country," said Congressman Young. "Supporting these heroic men and women should be our top priority. State-level Veterans Homes are critical to ensuring our heroes' health and well-being, but federal bureaucracy is putting these veterans at risk. I am proud to join Representatives Pingree and Golden on legislation to prevent red tape at the VA from imposing onerous burdens on the Veterans Homes that many Alaskans depend on. Supporting my fellow veterans is one of my highest priorities, and I will keep working in Congress to ensure that our country always stands with those who served."
Under the newly enforced rules, veterans must meet eight eligibility criteria for the VA to provide reimbursements for care at Veterans Homes. Young, Golden, and Pingree’s bill would amend these rules to require only four of the eight current criteria to be deemed eligible, decreasing the financial burden of caring for these veterans at state Veterans Homes.
A companion bill, sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and cosponsored by Senator Angus King (I-ME), has been introduced in the Senate.
The current criteria to be reimbursed for domiciliary care means that veterans must be able to dress themselves, feed themselves, participate in some work assignments, perform daily tasks like brushing teeth and bathing, make decisions about their desire to remain in care, as well as three other requirements. These criteria are especially difficult for veterans with early onset dementia, many of whom may have been able to receive care previously, but may now be deemed ineligible. While these veterans may be eligible for care at other facilities, the already high demand has left many families without options.
The full text of the bill can be found here.